Veteran Arsenal winger Willian has terminated his contract with the club, walking away from a guaranteed £20million in the process.
The former Chelsea attacker joined the Gunners last summer, but struggled to replicate his Stamford Bridge form at The Emirates. The 33-year-old penned a three-year deal with Mikel Arteta’s men after the Blues refused to give him a similar contract.
He was expected to remain in north London, despite not being part of Arteta’s plans this season.
However, Willian has decided to tear his contract, worth around £10m a season, in order to complete a free transfer switch to boyhood club Corinthians.
An Arsenal club statement read: “We have reached a mutual agreement with Willian to terminate his contract effective from today.
“The Brazil international joined us from Chelsea last August and made 38 appearances during the 2020/21 campaign.
“He had two more years to run on his contract but following positive and constructive recent discussions with him and his team, he will be leaving for a new opportunity with Corinthians in Brazil, where he began his career.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 30, 2021
“Everyone at Arsenal wishes Willian and his family well for the future.
“The contract termination is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.”
Willian, who started his career at Corinthians in 2007, has scored 104 career goals in 654 appearances.
Maitland-Niles appears to aim dig at Arteta
Meanwhile, Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles will speak to boss Mikel Arteta about his future after the Gunners rejected a transfer bid from Everton, reports claim.
The 24-year-old full-back and midfielder has had a mixed career since breaking through in 2017. He may have made 123 outings for the club, but he has rarely felt like a crucial first-team star. Indeed, he spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, securing a deadline day move in January.
Upon his return to north London, he openly asked for clarity over whether his future remained at Arsenal.
Since then, he has swayed more towards another exit. Indeed, Everton have had the strongest transfer links to date.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Toffees made an official bid on Sunday night. They proposed a loan deal with the option to buy next summer.
However, Arsenal rejected that approach. The Times journalist Paul Joyce adds that Arsenal have now told Maitland-Niles that they want him to stay.
Although, the England hopeful now has his heart set on a move to Everton in search of more game time.
As such, he will speak to Arteta in the coming hours to determine his manager’s plan for the current season.
In a twist later on Monday, Maitland-Niles posted on Instagram: “All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play.”