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Arsenal star Willian admits he ‘really wanted to stay’ at Chelsea


Willian wanted to stay at Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

Willian admitted he ‘really wanted to stay’ at Chelsea but after failing to agree a deal with the club he decided to move to London rivals Arsenal.

The Brazil international joined the Gunners on a free transfer this summer and has failed to find the form that made him a popular figure at Stamford Bridge.

He has failed to score for his new club, although he did provide an assist off the bench in Arsenal’s midweek fightback against Benfica in the Europa League.

And Willian, 32, admitted he would not have moved to the Emirates at all, had he and Chelsea been able to reach an agreement to extend his stay in west London.

‘It was difficult to make that decision, it wasn’t easy,’ he told UOL. ‘Because, as you said, the rivalry between the two clubs is very big.

‘It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Chelsea for Arsenal. It was well thought out, a thoughtful decision, talking to my wife and even the agent many times.

Willian has struggled in an Arsenal shirt (Picture: Arsenal FC via Getty)

‘And one of the things that made me decide to go to Arsenal was really the various conversations I had with Mikel Arteta, with Edu too. They convinced me to go there that it’d be a really cool project, that it’d be really good for me to be able to go there.

‘That I’d be a very important player in the squad. That they wanted to change the philosophy of the club, to make it possible for Arsenal to fight again in the Premier League, to play in the Champions League again.

‘So there were several conversations I had, several conversations that ended up pleasing me, so that’s why I ended up making this decision. But it really wasn’t easy to make that decision, it had to be well thought out.

‘Look, I think some fans asked this question. But the majority understood because I didn’t leave the club with a fight, I left the doors open. Everyone knew the conditions, I really wanted to stay.

‘We ended up not finding an agreement, I ended up asking for three years, Chelsea wanted to give two, and everyone knows this story. That’s why I ended up leaving.’

Willian also poured cold water on the idea of him returning to play in his homeland before he retires.

Arteta persuaded Willian to join Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

He added: ‘Look, I always say that sometimes we make plans but sometimes the plans change.

‘Today, in my head, I don’t have this objective. I have neither the desire nor the objective to play in Brazil.’

‘I intend to stay in Europe, anyway. Leaving Europe, going to another market. United States, I don’t know, another market.

‘But we make plans, sometimes things can change. So today I reply to you that I don’t have this thought of playing in Brazil again.’

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