Chelsea player Willian has confirmed he is leaving Chelsea as he is getting close to signing to Arsenal on a three-year deal.
The 32-year-old refused to renew his contract with Chelsea after a seven year spell as the club could only offer him a two-year deal when he wanted three.
Following Chelsea’s exit from Champions League after being beaten 4-1 by Bayern Munich, Willian wrote an open letter to fans confirming his exit from Stamford Bridge.
“They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play,” he wrote.
“Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense.
“Yet, beyond the trophies, I learnt a lot about myself. I developed a great deal, becoming a better player and a better person.
“With each training session, with each game, with every minute spent in the dressing room, I was always learning.
“I am really grateful to the Chelsea fans for the affectionate way they welcomed me at Stamford Bridge and their support throughout my time at the club.
“There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt!
“The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my team-mates. I will miss all the staff at the club who’ve always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans.
“I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt!
“My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you and God bless you!”
Arsenal are on the verge of beating Barcelona and Inter Miami for the Brazil international’s signature on a three-year contract.
Meanwhile Chelsea coach Frank Lampard has expressed no hard feelings against his former teammate for leaving the club.
“It actually doesn’t matter about disappointment from any party in this situation,” said Lampard, ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Saturday.
“I haven’t got an answer for you (if Willian will leave) first and foremost, because Willian remains our player at the moment.
“In terms of being disappointed, certainly as a club I think we have done everything we can to explain to Willian, and mine and his relationship is really close.”
Willian made 47 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions with nine premier league goals.