To say Willian has been underwhelming at Arsenal will be still an understatement. The Brazilian has had a torrid start at the Emirates stadium ever since he signed for the Gunners in a free transfer from fellow Premier League outfit Chelsea. While his signing was initially being looked at as a method for Mikel Arteta to cope with the absence of Mesut Özil, it has since turned out to be a puzzle Arteta just hasn’t been able to solve.
Here we look at three reasons why Willian was a poor signing even before he actually signed:
Age: Irrespective of how Willian has fared in his time at Arsenal, to bring in a 32-year-old to play in a position which was meant to be occupied by Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal’s record signing, on a 3 years long deal was always going to raise eyebrows and it did. A player into his 30s often declines with aging and to have the Brazilian on a 3-year contract which would mean he would be at the club until the age of 35 would well be another contractual issue for the Gunners.
Performance: Many believed that the Brazilian was brought in to challenge Nicolas Pepe for a place in the side, however, it wasn’t as if Willian was doing any better than the Ivorian, and to put things in context, Nicolas Pepe in his first season in a new league had the same amount of non-penalty goal contributions as Willian when Chelsea reached Champions League last year and the 32-year-old had one of his better seasons.
Profile: It was odd when Willian was brought in by Arsenal given his profile of a right-winger when they already had Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson all options for the position. What Arsenal truly needed was a central creator, however, given Willian’s recent performances at No.10, it seems he isn’t up to the task for that.