Willian has confirmed he will leave Chelsea this summer in a heartfelt letter to the club’s supporters as the winger edges closer to a move to Arsenal.
The Brazil winger is amongst the biggest free agents of this summer’s transfer market after reaching the end of his contract at Stamford Bridge, with negotiations over a new deal having failed to find an agreement with the club unwilling to meet the his demands of a three-year extension.
Several clubs across Europe and in MLS have been strongly linked with signing a player who has won five major honours since moving to English football seven years ago, but it now appears as if London rivals Arsenal have won the race for Willian’s signature as the star nears a switch across the capital.
According to the Telegraph, the Gunners have met Willian’s demands for a three-year deal, while also including the option for a further season, despite the Brazilian turning 32 on Sunday.
Willian confirmed his departure in a heartfelt letter, expressing his gratitude to the Blues and thanking the Chelsea fans for their continued support during ‘seven wonderful years’ at the club.
“They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play. Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense.
— Willian (@willianborges88) August 9, 2020
“Yet, beyond the trophies, I learnt a lot about myself. I developed a great deal, becoming a better player and a better person. With each training session, with each game, with every minute spent in the dressing room, I was always learning.
“I am really grateful to the Chelsea fans for the affectionate way they welcomed me at Stamford Bridge and their support throughout my time at the club. There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt!
“The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my teammates. I will miss all the staff at the club who’ve always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans. I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt!
“My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you and God bless you!”
Willian’s impending arrival at Arsenal is the first signing of what is expected to be a busy summer for the club, with the Gunners having been strongly linked with the likes of Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes and Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.
Their activity in the transfer window is likely to cause further controversy and attract substantial criticism, however, the club having recently announced the news of 55 staff redundancies in a bid to cut costs amid the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.