Willian joined Arsenal from Chelsea in August last year on a free transfer. The Brazilian was meant to bring creativity, goals, wing play and Premier League experience to Arsenal’s attack.
He got fans excited on his debut as he bagged two assists in the first game, this was one of the few times he has actually played well in an Arsenal shirt.
His performances have been terrible or below average while in an Arsenal shirt. Despite the deal being a “free”’ transfer, significant wages and a signing on fee were reported to be in the region of £35 million across his 3-year contract.
Why does Arteta keep playing him?
At 32 Willian won’t get any better, he can only get worse. Arteta continues to give him minutes of football despite his awful form.
This was the case during the Leeds’ 4-2 victory. Arteta decided to take off Smith-Rowe and bring on the 32-year-old. And of course 7 minutes later and Leeds scored again.
The most frustrating part is not that he didn’t make an impact, but he played 28 minutes, wasted 28 minutes while record signing Nicolas Pepe who has been in good form was left sited. Gabriel Martinelli didn’t see a single minute of football.
It’s not a coincidence that Arsenal started playing well offensively when Willian was benched. It’s unfair that he gets more minutes on the pitch than two young wingers, Martinelli and Nelson who are better than him.
Arteta has vowed to continue supporting Willian. “Today was the first time that he started the game. He had some good moments and he had some other moments that he needed more help sometimes, and some decisions weren’t the best. But we’re going to keep trying with him.” Arteta said, during the 2-0 FA cup over Newcastle.
A possible theory is an apparent appearance clause in Willian’s contract which mandates him to be in the matchday squad and make appearances.
No club will want to meet Willian’s current wages and it seems Arsenal will be stuck with him for a while.