Willian, Arsenal and a brand new earworm. Ah yes, money

Scott Murray
·6 min read


When news broke on Friday morning of Willian’s free transfer to Arsenal, the lyrics to that Smiths song naturally started jangling in The Fiver’s head. “Do you think you’ve made the right decision this time?” crooned lead singer Bernard Manning on the appropriately titled 1987 B-side London. But the man himself is sure that leaving Chelsea and heaving closer to Euston is a good career move. “I like the way they play,” is how he started explaining himself, presumably a conclusion reached while sitting in the stand for the FA Cup final and coming to the realisation that a defence with David Luiz in it is better than no defence at all.

Related: Willian outlines Arteta's influence after signing three-year Arsenal deal

“Everything is amazing,” Willian continued, going on to list all the things that have grabbed him about his new club. “The stadium.” He’s not totally architecturally obsessed, though, and the Brazil international is also impressed with the way Mikel Arteta is going about rebuilding the club from the large pile of marble rubble left by Arsène Wenger – and that Unai Emery is getting all the flak for. “Arsenal have a great opportunity to fight again for titles in the Premier League and in Europe so I’m very happy. I can’t wait to go on the pitch and do my thing to help my teammates and to help this club to shine again. That’s what I want.” At which point The Fiver got a brand new earworm. Ah yes, money.

Willian is expected to trouser “comfortably more” than the £120,000 shovelled every week into his bank account by Chelsea. That represents another good day’s work for Mr 20% Kia Joorabchian, whose client list also features recent success stories such as the aforementioned David Luiz and the equally dependable Cédric Soares, neither signing deserving of the way you’re clacking your tongue right now. Whether the deal, which will keep Willian in clover until he’s almost 35, will be welcomed with equal warmth by the 55 people made redundant by the club last week is another issue altogether. He was looking for a job and then he found a job … and it’s too close to home and it’s too near the bone, more than you’ll ever know.


Join Scott Murray from 8pm BST for hot MBM coverage of Barcelona 0-4 Bayern Munich in Big Cup’s quarter-finals.


“Suffice to say that at a time when every club in the land is managing its costs as tightly as possible, we have incurred significant ‘unnecessary’ costs. We have done nothing wrong and yet, once again, we are being disproportionately disadvantaged by a decision which has been described as ‘the fairest’. We should not forget that this situation has come about because of behavioural issues, not by our employees but by those of other clubs … Our fans are naturally incensed by this action. For the avoidance of doubt, everyone at the club is equally incensed” – Hearts are left with a proper funk on after being forced to stop training by Scottish fitba authorities, in the wake of coronavirus breaches at Aberdeen and the Queen’s Celtic.


It’s the trailer for All or Nothing, the Spursy edition.


Football Weekly Extra: come get some.


“Can something be the ‘most interminable’ (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs)? Surely a thing either terminates, in which case it isn’t interminable, or it doesn’t, in which case it is. It’s a binary state. You may have meant ‘most ballsachingly tedious’, in which case I agree” – Louise Wright.

“Re: ‘Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, one of the very few players currently plying their trade at the apex of world football who has proven his ability to function on a wet evening in Stoke’ (yesterday’s Fiver). Don’t you believe it. Rich Jolly, oft of this parish, pointed out: ‘The relegated Stoke squad of 2017-18 had players who played in the 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020 [Big Cup] semi-finals.’ The list is: 2005 Glen Johnson, 2007 Peter Crouch, 2008 Darren Fletcher, 2009 Fletcher, 2010 Bojan, 2011 Fletcher, 2013 Xherdan Shaqiri, 2015 Jesé, 2016 Jesé, 2019 Shaqiri, 2020 Choupo-Moting. Of course, it takes a special talent to get relegated with that lot on board but Stoke have always been special” – David Carr.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Louise Wright.


Sarina Wiegman will take over from Big Phil Neville as the new England Women head coach, starting her role in September 2021. “I’m very much looking forward to contributing my experience and expertise to this ambitious team,” she roared.

Arturo Vidal isn’t having any of the big Bayern Munich chat as Barcelona prepare to face them in Friday night’s Big Cup quarter-final. “Bayern will be confident but they must know they’re not playing any old team in the Bundesliga, they’re playing Barça,” he sniffed. “I understand the pessimism but we are the best team in the world.”

That noise you can hear coming from USA! USA!! USA!!! fans is because RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams had a shot that flew in off a defender’s boot to knock Atlético Madrid out of Big Cup. “It’s a deflection but it counts the same as a regular one,” he cheered as Diego Simeone’s seethe flew off the scale.

Premier League chief suit Richard Masters has stuck his head above the parapet with regards the failed Newcastle takeover, although if truth be told, we’re not a whole lot wiser.

New Queen’s Celtic signing Albian Ajeti wants to prove a point to his former employers after winging north from West Ham, where he played for the sum total of 132 minutes. “Yes, to be fair I deserved to play more, I don’t need to hide that. I deserved that,” he tooted.

And having failed to cash in on him at his peak, Stoke City are now ready to sell Jack Butland. “We have said we are open to offers and we will see how that plays out,” teased chairman Peter Coates.


There is no Sergio Agüero but Gabriel Jesus offers a different dimension to Manchester City for their clash with Lyon, writes Jonathan Wilson.

Mesut Özil’s refusal to leave has Arsenal in a tough spot just when they might be celebrating their Willian signing and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new deal, explains Nick Ames.

More summer moves than the time Weird Uncle Fiver went on holiday to Kavos: it’s the women’s and men’s transfer window interactives.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!