Arsenal remains winless in the Premier League and hit a new low on Saturday night after a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City but an “incredible gesture” is set to save the club millions.
Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol reported on Sunday morning that Willian is set to tear up his Arsenal contract in a move he described as “almost unheard of for a modern-day footballer”.
“Incredible gesture by Willian. He is tearing up his Arsenal contract,” he wrote on Twitter.
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The decision is set to save Arsenal £20 million ($A38m), with Willian having two years left on a £240,000 ($A452,000) a week deal.
“Instead of just sitting back and taking the money or asking for a pay off, he is walking away to sign for Corinthians on 70 per cent less wages,” Solhekol added.
He wrote that Arsenal directors are “amazed” by the selfless act from Willian, who accepted his move from Chelsea has not worked out as planned.
“Willian has been exemplary professional since he moved to England in 2013. He wants to leave English football with his head held up high,” Solhekol wrote.
“He leaves English football after winning five major trophies in eight seasons, including two Premier League titles.”
It is a fortunate break for Arsenal, whose summer spending has now reached beyond £125 million ($A235m) but not led to any real tangible results on the field.
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said he will hold crisis talks with fellow players after the disastrous 5-0 loss to City.
“We have to talk between us players, I think this is important because we are Arsenal,” the said, per The Telegraph.
“We need pride and we need to say the truth, be honest and raise the level.”
Mikel Arteta backed the plan, adding: “He is on the pitch and he is talking of the players on the pitch. They know more than anyone what is needed.”
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Arteta is under enormous pressure to keep his job with Arsenal anchored to the bottom of the table with no wins, no goals and 10 conceded in the team’s worst start in 67 years.
“I am (angry) because of the consequences that it had to the team,” Arteta told BT Sport after the City defeat.
“I must say that the line we are being judged with is really, really thin because we have seen actions like that in the first two Premier League games and nothing happened and I am disappointed.
“I am very disappointed with the second goal because of the way that they allowed that goal.”