Troy Deeney says the criticisms that Willian has been facing should instead be aimed at Nicolas Pepe.
Willian joined Arsenal after being released by Chelsea at the start of this season.
Mikel Arteta must have been impressed by his performance for Chelsea during Project Restart.
He was arguably Chelsea’s best player in that time, and he wanted a three-year deal.
The Blues wanted to keep him, but offered a two-year deal instead, he rejected it and joined Arsenal. He is now one of the worse players at the Emirates.
Pepe joined Arsenal for a record-breaking £72m in the summer of 2019, and he has similarly disappointed.
Willian has gotten a lot of stick for playing below expectations, but Deeney says most of those criticisms should be aimed at Pepe instead.
He says the Ivorian has been at Arsenal longer and more money was spent to sign him, so he needs to give more than he is giving now.
He told Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast: “I think everyone loses confidence at some point.
“Everyone will say, ‘he [Willian] hasn’t moved far’, because it’s Arsenal and Chelsea, they’re both in London, but it’s a new environment with different people.
“When he was at Chelsea was he the main man? Probably not. Was there a lot of expectation? Probably not.
“Now he’s gone in there and they’re expecting him to deliver a mentality that he may not be able to do.
“What’s happened is he’s started taking the kicking that Pepe deserves.
“Pepe has been there longer than him; there was a lot of money spent on him and he hasn’t really delivered over the course of the time.
“If you’re going to spend £70m-plus, you expect to have done a background search to understand the guy’s temperament. How long do we give it?”