David Luiz has backed Willian to get over the “turbulence” of the difficult start to his Arsenal career.
Willian joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2020 – the same move Luiz had made one year earlier.
However, both have endured mixed fortunes after their switches across London. Willian in particular has struggled to reach his usual standards.
The winger recorded two assists on his first Premier League appearance for Arsenal, but has only contributed one more assist in 21 games since.
It already led to questions of his future in January, when there were rumours that Willian could make a premature exit from the Emirates Stadium.
That did not come to pass, though, and he remains under contract until 2023. He will be keen to prove himself again in that time.
Now, his Brazilian compatriot Luiz has offered a glowing praise of Willian’s character and backed the 32-year-old to get back to his best.
“Few people know the person Willian. But those who do know can’t say they don’t love him. Because everyone loves him as a person,” he told ESPN Brasil.
“Everyone knows the player Willian. And everyone knows Willian’s potential. And he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone after so many years at the highest level.
“And he’s in a moment which is not so pleasant on the individual level because things are not happening.
“But he’s an experienced, intelligent guy, who knows what he should know, and what he must do every day.
“You don’t see Willian murmuring about training, you don’t see Willian not training. He’s always dedicated, he’s looking for the best, to improve, to grow.
“You don’t see Willian with an ugly face on the bench. All those things.
“So he’s a guy who will get through this, he will get through this moment and he’ll still bring a lot of joy to Arsenal, to this club. Because there’s this turbulence, just as I had in the first few months.”
Not easy changing clubs
The pair both won the Premier League with Chelsea, where they made nearly 600 appearances between them.
Luiz admits the transition to a new club has been challenging and that expectations from their previous achievements have been weighing heavy.
“It’s not easy, you change clubs, from one rival to another, you have all the cannons facing you. Everything you do people will compare [to what you’d done before],” he added.
“Supporters on one side who loved you are sad because you left and are nervous. Supporters on the other side, who cheered against you, are like, ‘I’m not going to like this guy who came from the other side’.
“You end up feeling, in a way, just a little unsure until you adapt.
“My first months weren’t easy, and that’s what I try to pass on to Willian. ‘Calm down, things will work out, things will happen. Just keep working because you’re you, there’s no way to change. You’re a great person and you’re a great player. Calm down. Things are going to happen’.
“That’s what we try. Everyone already loves Willian here, so I know that things will happen in the best possible way soon.”