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Willian to join Corinthians on free transfer

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

Willian will join Corinthians on a free transfer, as has been widely reported over the past week. The Brazilian will fly home tomorrow to sign for his boyhood club, per Fabrizio Romano. Arsenal and Willian have mutually terminated his contract, saving the club £20M due him over two seasons.

There is a bit of posturing going in the media, trying to paint Willian as the good guy doing the club a favor by walking away, correctly attributed to sources close to the player by the usual Arsenal journos. But that’s all who will control the narrative — window dressing if you will. The upshot is that Willian will no longer be an Arsenal player, and it looks like the club aren’t going to have to pay him to go away.

“Hooray no more Willian at Arsenal,” he said in the most half-hearted, unexcited voice in history. It’s tough to get excited about arguably the worst signing in the history of the club leaving. He was expensive, contributed little on the pitch, played ahead of younger, better players due to Mikel Arteta’s stubbornness / inflexibility, and seemingly showed up to preseason this summer out of shape. But at least it’s over.

To be fair, I don’t think anyone at the club could have predicted that Willian would completely fall apart as a footballer in quite the spectacular manner that he did. He had a good season at Chelsea before signing for Arsenal. You expect a bit of decline from a 32-year old because that’s how that works. You don’t expect his production to fall off a cliff.

The money and term Arsenal gave him is a different story and speak to poor management decisions. But from an on-field, footballing perspective I could see the reasoning behind it.

That’s all over now. Willian’s time at Arsenal is finished. I hope I forget it quickly. I probably will — there’s nothing good worth remembering.