Will Willian be the exception to the rule in Arsenal’s dealings with Top Four sides

Is Willian The Exception To The Rule? by Dan Smith

You know if you’ve been hurt in a previous relationship, you struggle to trust your new partner. It’s not that he or she has done anything wrong, it’s just that you’ve been hurt before, so you are trying to protect yourself.

That’s some Gooners reaction to the signing of Willian. At 32, and with Chelsea not prepared to offer him a 3 year deal, the perception is we have been given another one of our rival’s casts off who is past his best.

It’s understandable why our fanbase get frustrated as we have sent Adebayor, Touré, Sagna, Clichy, Nasri, Van Persie and Sanchez to Manchester, The Ox to Liverpool while Ashley Cole, Petit, Anelka, Fabregas and Giroud all ended up at Chelsea.

Yet the idea of us ever poaching one of the traditional big 4 sides best talent seems unthinkable, which sums up the ambition of our owner.

Here is our recent track record the rare times a Chelsea or Man United player made the move to North London (interestingly zero Liverpool and City players have moved to Highbury or the Emirates in the Prem era but some have gone the other way).

Man United
Mikael Silvestre
To be fair to Arsene Wenger the plan wasn’t for Silvestre to play as many games as he did. He was simply a cheap option to fill a place in the squad, but injuries saw us relying on him in games as big as a Champions League Semi Final.

We quickly realised why United were not offering him a new contract and why they practically gave him to us for free, he hadn’t recovered from an injury which saw him miss 7 months of action at Old Trafford. Knee ligament damage robbed him of any pace. The Frenchmen was a solid performer for Sir Alex Ferguson who you sense almost out of a reward for his service got him one last big pay day.

Danny Welbeck
In the previous two summers Arsenal had been linked with the likes of Higuaín and Suarez so gooners were a little underwhelmed when it was announced we had signed Welbeck on deadline day.

Ironically though there were some Man United fans who were disappointed a young talent was being sold to a top 4 contender (how do they think we feel?).

Louis Van Gal didn’t make himself popular by saying the striker didn’t have the standard to be a centre forward for a big club. In hindsight he was right with Welbeck great at holding the ball and linking up with others but not a reliable finisher. To be fair though injuries were the reason he didn’t fulfil his potential. It felt like every year there was a season ending injury.

Getting a swap deal was the best Arsenal could manage out of a horrible situation they had got themselves into. In many ways Man United agreeing to a player exchange for Sanchez saved our blushes as the Chilean was months away from leaving on a free, when we had turned down a 60-million-pound bid only a few months prior.

Mkhitaryan though had already showed he was struggling to adapt to English Football, making it a gamble to give such a high wage to. This is a player who was brilliant in Germany and to be fair his loan in Italy has gone fairly well. You do get talent who for various reasons are just not suited to the Premier League .


It was never good when the best left back in the world joins a title rival, but swapping Ashley Cole with Gallas wasn’t a bad compromise in principle. Gallas had won two consecutive title medals but in many ways that was part of the problem.

He had gone from a dressing room of leaders to a young one where he wasn’t the captain he had to be. To be fair the Frenchman was used to certain standards under Jose Mourinho and struggled when he felt that mentality didn’t exist at the Emirates.

When we conceded a late penalty at Birmingham instead of putting an arm round Clichy’s shoulder, Gallas staged a one-man sit-down protest and was once caught on TV in a pre-match warm up essentially telling Theo Walcott he was too physically weak.

You see that the majority who made the move from Stamford Bridge to the Emirates were maybe surplus to requirements, but this one was a mistake from our end.

Diarra couldn’t get game time in West London so moved across the Capital to still just sit on the bench.
It’s not like Arsene Wenger was shy in giving youth a chance but for whatever reason the Profwould only play his countryman in the League Cup. Over 12 months later, he won the FA Cup with Portsmouth, who had activated his 5 million buyout clause, and then moved to a certain Real Madrid for 20 million!!!
It’s amazing that two of the biggest clubs in this country failed to see what they had right under their noses.

These were the dark days when we actually had the nerve in not just selling Fabregas and Nasri, but trying to get away without even replacing them. It took an 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford to pressure the board to do last ditch business on deadline day.

Did we spend the approx. 50 million we had just made (we sold Clichy as well)? Of course not. We went to Stamford Bridge with a begging bowl and asked for help, and they said they would see if they had anything around the back. In all seriousness Benayoun was the type of individual a young squad needed at the time. A reliable professional who you can trust to do a job when needed.

When you consider that Jose Mourinho fell out with his bosses for allowing Cech to join us, in hindsight he really shouldn’t have worried. He wanted to stay in London and, out of gratitude for his services, Roman Abramovich wasn’t going to block the transfer, even if at the time many felt it could help us win the title.

He wasn’t bad at Arsenal, it was just clear that age was catching up on him. To be fair he didn’t have the defence to work with like he used to at the Bridge.

Our delight in landing Pepe last summer seemed to make some fans ignore the fact that we had essentially swapped Koscielny with David Luiz. Luiz would go on to concede more penalties and red cards in one year at Arsenal compared to his 7 years at Chelsea. It almost sums up his career that his two best displays for us were in the FA Cup Semi Final and Final

You could argue then, that unlike the players our rivals got off us none in this list were a success. Yet were they ever meant to be?

The majority, due to age, were not needed by their club anymore and only joined us due to not wanting to move their families or one final pay day. Us on the other hand just saw an opportunity to get a cheap deal.

You put that criteria together and it’s only natural that at best we view these players as okay but not as good as they were in their prime.

Many will say we are doing the same again with Willian.

He’s 32, meaning that there is zero resale value and his motives are clear. He’s joined us because we were willing to pay over the odds in terms of his wage while Chelsea were not.

Yet Willian could be the exception to the rule. Yes, we were only interested because he’s free, but he will make our squad better. He scored more League goals then our entire midfield combined.

Where Arsene Wenger would be reluctant to buy, even give long term contracts to those over 30, Arteta is not in that position. He’s just seen us finish in our worst position in 25 years, so he has to think in the short term.

How can he make the team better during a Pandemic when we don’t know when we are or even if we are getting match day revenue?

He can’t do what those in Manchester can do. He has to be creative, so if a proven Prem player is a free agent at a time when we lack any kind of creativity. We are not good enough to be putting our nose up to someone just because he’s other rivals cast off.

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith


  1. As anyone read reports that Wilian could earn up to 220 000/week? nothing like the 100 000 previously mentioned!

  2. Tricky one with Willian. Time will tell, let’s see what the season brings with him.

    When those list of players are put together it looks like shocking business. Luiz’s desciplinary record is bad but is he the only cast off that’s won a trophy with us?

    Hate David Luiz as much as you want to and I’m not a massive fan. Fact is he’s a winner and performs and wins at crucial times like cup finals. Willian could be the same. Let’s face it cup finals is our only hope as we aren’t winning the league!

    1. I think it’s clever from Arsenal. Brazil have some of the most exciting young players coming through and with Edu I can see us attracting them. Willian and Luiz and Martinelli are great lures, hopefully that attracts the likes of that defender Gabriel from Lille. I’m optimistic for the years to come!

  3. I don’t see Willian as a cast off Dan as Chelsea did want to renew but on different terms. That said it was an interesting read and Arteta will have to be creative as you say. If Willian manages 2 good seasons then that short term stance will have been well worth it

  4. First Willian isn’t Chelsea cast off, as we all know, Chelsea tried to extend his contract and failed in negotiation, his 3yrs might seems too much considering his a but if we could get 2yrs of consistency from him while he help us back to UCL places, the gamble would pay off.
    Most of those players we lost weren’t spectacular with our rival with the exception of few like Cole or maybe RVP.
    Did we lose Anelka and Fab to our direct opponents? I dont think so.
    Players move about and those 2 cases were far from the meaning in this contest.
    Though we had bad luck with lots of players we got from our rival, it’s simply an overreaction if you ask me, we didnt buy most of those players ,which shows they were supposed to be stop gap, back up, or something related, so you were not supposed to expect same performance/contribution as Cole did for Chelsea, considering how much we sold those guys, Silvester? Benayoun? Those were players we got as squad players. Gallas did fine with us, same as Cech, Luiz isn’t bad either, the only regretting one is Welbeck. So am not so afraid Williams will flop

    1. Well said, Adajim. We also forget we sold Giroud at 31 to Chelsea and Gallas moved on to the Spuds. For Arteta, it’s a case of needs must and Willian is a great addition in my view, having been Chelsea’s best performer for a few years, after Eden Hazard left.
      We need to wait patiently to see what he brings.

  5. We can only wait and see what he can offer. If we can get partey and cotinho I don’t mind if we don’t sign a defender. Though we still need a left footed center back to replace and compete with Mari.

  6. He scored more league goals than our entire midfield combined – that speaks volumes, Dan!! A lot of his other stats were also better than our players… so surely this is a good thing!
    He’s versatile…. the thought of PAL with Willian just behind is rather exciting, for me anyway!!

    According to reports we’re looking to sign at least 2 more…… and no, I don’t mean from Chelsea 😂😂

    1. Maximum goal tally he has been able to achieve in any single season is 9 and maximum assist in any single season is 7. That is hardly a sign of world class player. He use to play on wings for Chelsea so when you say our midfield has scored less then 9 is that including our wing players because that is not true. We are screaming for a Midfielder like santi for ages since he left but I don’t think Willian is the answer. Plus I prefer a player like Santi who controls the game and links attack to defence then Ramsey who can come up with lot of goals in a season. If scoring goals from midfield was an issue we should have stayed with Ramsey he had a better goal to game ratio then Willian and he knew the club inside out plus he was younger.

      1. I didn’t say he was world class, Mohsan… I’m not saying he’ll turn us in to world beaters overnight… but he hasn’t kicked a ball for us yet! I’d like to see what he can do for us before I pass judgement. Yes, some may find it an underwhelming deal.. but it’s done, he’s a gooner now.. we have no option but to support him, get behind him. Other new signings will follow… we’re rebuilding, Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it?!

        1. Willian -games played 339
          -goals scored 63
          -assists 55
          Ramsey- games played 367
          – goals 64
          -assists 59
          I would say pretty even but Willian played 30 games less so certainly not a better games to ratio ,and William as done this in 7 years compared to Ramsey who took 11 because Willian is very rarely injured

          1. Save ur virtual breath Dan they dont wanna hear it. They just insult and then dont even bother replying to fellow supporters,(disrespectful) because they are in facts NOT arsenal supporters. It’s so obvious.

  7. To begin with, we did not need a winger or even an attacker. We need a good CB and a CM. Even last year’s purchase of Pepe was not needed. Arsenal needs a new board and management who know the business of football. Buying a 32 year old winger is dumb as hell.

    1. Yup, fans here who are defending and celebrating a Chelsea discard are same delusional as board at least board members are saving money for kronke and might get some kind of bonus but only thing fans will get is misery. There must have been a valid reason why Chelsea did not want to hand a 3 year contract to a player they have world with for 7 years ….AGE dumb Arsenal board.

    2. You are quite right. But Willian is as versatile as they come. He can play CM and AM comfortably. He is very good in possession.

    1. Are you a parrot man? All you do is spout the same garbage. Arent you the guy who didnt even know what bloody position we finished? You said we finished 10th in a previous post lmao I can smell the plastic from here.

  8. He came on a free transfer so there won’t be much pressure on him to perform. I think he’ll do great and give Pepè the much needed kick up his bum!

  9. Wow.. Very typical of Arsenal fans to be pessimistic.. Willian is a cast off from Chelsea? Clearly you haven’t been following up with his contract saga because if you have you will not be saying that.. Chelsea were offering him about 150k for a two years deal which he turned down to join us on a much lesser deal but for 3 years and an option for a fourth.. I understand if you skeptical about the deal but to call Willian a cast off wow that’s beyond me.. I will give you a good example.. how many Arsenal players had a better all round statistics than Willian the last season? How many Chelsea players had a better all round statistics than Willian last season? Don’t be ungrateful because we are getting him for free and Chelsea is not demanding £80m for the transfer.. we do this every time.. I am a lover of Pepe but how much did we spend to land him? Can you say he had a much better season than Willian? Let’s be realistic because you don’t shell out money to buy players don’t mean they are not good.. I have always envied Chelsea about this player and now my dreams have come true and this is what you have to post about my f**kin dreams? That’s cold. I promise you will take back this post just like people took back what they said about Pepe.. I am Arsenal I am optimistic. Coyg!!!

    1. Yeah mate people just parrot the silly “chelsea reject” narrative quite a few on this site! Absolute lack of brains lead to believing this, and the ones who do it on here don’t even comment on other articles! Just sad negative trolls, in my book they are NOT arsenal fans.

    1. Hopefully he’s heard the prayers about Kroenke as well and we might be getting a new owner in the not too distant future

  10. Can we stop with all this criticism of this guy until we actually see him play for us, if he turns out to be useless then you can all turn around and say there you go I told you so. For me it’s not the most exciting arrival but am prepared to see what he brings to the team before I slag him off. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    1. Unfortunately no. They come on here, leave there ignorant comment(only on willian posts), then dont even bother to defend there argument when people reply (which is super disrespectful to fellow supporters by the way) they are trolls pal nothing more, definitely not arsenal fans, top gunner said we finished 10th in the league ffs lolol 😂😂

      1. The same usual suspects on here, Rory…. are some people ever satisfied??! It drives me crazy – reading the constant slating of our players!! If they can’t find anything good in anything they do.. maybe football, and Arsenal in particular isn’t for them!!!
        Won the cup and some were still bleedin’ moaning!! Sheesh!!

        1. Exactly sue!! Drives me mad he hasn’t even kicked a ball for the arsenal!! Definitely not arsenal fans in my opinion, one of them said we wont win anything with willian even though we just won the cup! Honestly there lives and ours would be much better if they just go support chelsea, city or man u 👋👋👋

  11. Willian is better than anything we’ve been having at the site.

    If I was choosing R. Nelson to be ahead of Pepe, then Willian is ahead both.

    I expect him to outperform Pepe and other midfield forward players very easily.

  12. Really can’t say here. Honestly you are right on all those players you mentioned. But then let’s hope Willian will be different. What I really love about his game is his ball carrying ability and suden change of direction and acceleration in play.

  13. I like willian,he is super versatile and has pace,not sure about his position but am excited ti see him play.And Dan was right,tis a creative decision from MA and co.
    —-fun fact—-
    Atalanta has scored against every goalkeepers they faced in the CL except one,Kyle Walker😂💯

  14. I like Willian I hope he becomes a legend for us. All this focus on pepe s 72m transfer fee and now Raul leaving, what’s going on anyone know the truth? Also anyone think well miss his connections within football? He seemed to do well when helping the process.
    Maybe hes been summoned back to Spain to help mend Barca!

  15. Willian has yet to kick a ball for us (no unveilings during these times so no customary keep ups either, lol). I will support him as long as he is an Arsenal player though. Being an Arsenal fan is a unique experience, we always hope and most of the time don’t give up on something. Although we should demand more success but as Sue said, Rome wasn’t built on a single day!
    OT- Raul has left Arsenal! Good times ahead?🤔🤔

  16. For all us Gooners For or Against comments, Willian signing isn’t going to be reversed by Arsenal who have signed him yesterday Friday this summer. But will not possibly put him back in the market for sale just immediately after they’ve signed him. So, I implore us Gooners to hold our skepticism on his signing by Arsenal to ourselves for the time being. But not be expression them antagonistically in our furry as expressed until the next PL campaign has begun and well into it before us the AFC Gooners Jurists on this JustArsenal can be in the position to pass any verdicts on if Arsenal have made the right decision or not in their signing of Willian this summer. But nevertheless, let us Gooners be steadfast and remain steadfast in our support for Arsenal unwavering in good times or bad times no matter what comes, and hoping at all times Arsenal will do very well next season in all the three domestic and one external competitions the Gunners will participate in them to play for Arsenal and win absolutely the quadrupled titles for us the Arsenal God’s willing.

    Notwithstanding, now that Willian signing by Arsenal has been put to bed, but in which other areas and positions in the team should Arsenal do some new player signings for their 1st team squad assembling for next season:s campaign? Tor the CB, DM and ST positions? But should the one for the CAMF signing be suspended till next January window before it is actualised since Mesut Ozil who Arsenal are looking can’t get rid of him this summer could still be at the club? Okay, are the new top quality players us Gooners think Arsenal should sign this summer in addition to their signing of Willian, should be who and who? I think by the popular choice of the Gooners, the DM Thomas Partey is first on the list for Arsenal to sign. Then, second is probably Maglhaes? But Raul Sanllehi the Arsenal head of football is gone. Who then is going to facilitate the signing of Maglhaes for Arsenal without much difficulties? Vanai Venkatesham? Okay, fine let him then facilitate Maglhaes signing successfully for Arsenal this summer but provided it’s true that Arsenal want him. But what is the possibility of Arsenal signing Philippe Coutihno this summer as his loaned club Bayern Munchen have beaten his parent club Barca to reach the UCL semis and could offer Coutihno a deal to sign him permanently if they win the UCl this season? But there is an If to it because in football, nothing is certain or should be taking for granted. Hmmm. Lastly, will Arsenal do a new striker’s signing this summer? But this is my own take and ambition for the club to adopt. Which if Arsenal adopted this summer will not mean they have to offload any of their 3 senior team strikers of: Auba, Laca and Nketiah this summer who are currently at the club to do the striker’s signing this summer. And who should be a top grade quality kind who should be a proven at least 20 top League goals per season striker. e.g. Danny Ings who if signed by Arsenal this summer could complement Arsenal goals scoring efforts in all competitions by adding his own sure quata to the efforts being made especially in the PL next season.

  17. I feel the football of transfers is changing right before our eyes.

    Spending huge on player after player is no longer the norm nor possible. Consider transfer fees – agent fees – player salaries …

    the use of loan and free have been so undervalued for too long because it doesnt come with £££ in front of it yet it’s going to revolutionise the game again.

    Regarding the comments on the past ex chelsea players. Cech was a success. Not the type of success people were expecting But his off field presence and on field work rate meant he won us an FA Cup during his time.

    Regarding William.. Spur would take him, Man U too and even my liverpool fans wanted him and let’s not forget, chelsea still wanted him!!

    I would be fully disappointed if any ‘arsenal fan’ would not support him in red of arsenal.

  18. Good business, next is Gabriel M, Party and loaning of Coutinho. Then we can fight for the title

  19. He has loads of experience in the EPL at the highest level so should hit the ground running. I have always rated him for his technical skill, work-rate and consistency and should be a great example to our youngsters.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs