Arsenal winger Willian has revealed that his ambition is to win the Champions League with the Gunners by the time his three-year contract is up in 2023, a vision shared by manager Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal last qualified for the Champions League in 2016 and suffered their lowest Premier League finish in 25 years this season. The club has also been hampered by financial limitations, which pre-date the coronavirus crisis but have been worsened by it, but Willian is optimistic about the future.The 30-year-old Brazilian has moved across London as a free agent after leaving Chelsea, who were reluctant to give him the long-term deal he was seeking.
“One of the reasons I wanted a three-year deal was to be part of a plan, not just a player passing through,” Willian told The Sun.
“When I talked with the manager he told me why he needed me for three years. It was that he first wanted to qualify for the Champions League and win it by the time I left. That was what I wanted to hear."
To make that grand vision become a reality, it would require Arsenal to finish in the Premier League top four as soon as possible to make their return to the Champions League. At most, they would then have two attempts to achieve European glory by 2023. Right now, it seems a pipe dream.
Arteta has been tasked with stripping out the deadwood and conducting an overhaul of the squad. With so much change potentially to come in the short-term, keeping hold of club captain and top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who carried the team for large parts of 2019/20 and was the difference in the FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, is absolutely crucial.
Aubameyang is in the final year of his contract, but an extension is widely rumoured to have been agreed and the player himself has hinted as much on social media.
In a separate part of the same interview, Willian urged the Gabon international to stay.
“I joined Arsenal because we can challenge for titles but Pierre will be a big part of the plan. He has to stay. It is very important to me,” Arsenal’s new number 12 said.
“This is a guy who gets 25-30 goals a season and we have to keep a player like that. He’s one of the best players in our team and somebody I want to be making chances for.”
Source : 90min