Willian was forced to find a club outside Europe as one of the conditions that led to the termination of his Arsenal contract, according to reports.
After joining Arsenal on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, things never worked out for Willian. He only scored once in his debut season, all while taking home one of Arsenal’s largest wage packages. Thus, his contract was terminated recently.
Respectfully, Willian agreed to walk away from his contract without a pay off. In doing so, he has saved the club more than £20m over the next two years that would have remained on his contract.
The winger has since signed for Corinthians back in his native Brazil, thus returning to the club where his career began.
But he also had suitors in Europe before then; there were rumours of late interest from Italy with AC Milan, while he was also wanted in France.
But according to UOL, Arsenal technical director Edu made it clear to Willian that he would only rip his contract up if his next club was outside Europe.
Edu did not want to strengthen a Premier League rival, not that there seemed to be much interest there. But even though Arsenal are not in Europe this season, he also was reluctant to strengthen another team from the continent.
While Willian had suitors on the mainland, Arsenal would have required different conditions to allow him to move there.
UOL name Lyon and Marseille as two clubs who tried to make late moves for him. But Arsenal’s stance led him to seal an emotional return to Corinthians instead.
He has reduced his salary by approximately 70 per cent to fulfil the move. Corinthians are also seeking additional sponsors to help pay his wages.
Their next fixture is in one week’s time, against Juventude. But it remains to be seen when Willian will make his second debut there.
Arsenal did not sign a direct replacement for the 33-year-old. Instead, they kept someone they already had by making Martin Odegaard’s loan move from Real Madrid permanent.
Their other summer signings were goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, defenders Ben White, Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu, and midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Arsenal exit situation
In addition to Willian, Arsenal had several players to get rid of before the deadline.
Earlier in the window, they released David Luiz, sold Joe Willock, and loaned out Konstantinos Mavropanos, William Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.
Then on deadline day, they offloaded Hector Bellerin, Reiss Nelson and Runar Alex Runarsson, all on loan deals.
But there was one man they were trying to find a suitor for who they are stuck with…