Portuguese champions Benfica announced this weekend that former Arsenal youngster Chris Willock had joined the club after the expiry of his contract at the Gunners.
— SL Benfica (@SLBenfica) June 30, 2017
The 19-year-old has signed a five-year deal with the UEFA Champions League club despite being offered a new contract at Arsenal.
The youngster made his debut under Arsene Wenger last season in the League Cup against Nottingham Forest but had been unable to get any experience in the English Premier League.
Regarded as one of the better prospects coming through the Academy at the club, it’s a bit of a blow to lose a bright young talent on a free transfer.
Fans had been hoping to see more of the winger after shining for the club’s U21s side, scoring and assisting twice in the U21 Premier League Play-Off Final in 2016.
With first team football not on the horizon though, Willock has left to gain it elsewhere and it’ll be intriguing to see if it’s a move that works out for the England youth international…
Arsenal supporters took to Twitter to share their thoughts on it all…
Chris Willock to Benfica? Thought he was our best youth product. #afc
— CantoGooner (@CantoGooner) July 1, 2017
— Samrat (@samchez7) July 1, 2017
— RGA (@FilipinoGypsy) July 1, 2017
I don't blame Chris Willock he's a start and he need to be playing football and Arsenal can't give him that Wish you all the best luck #afc
— ArsenalD•N•A ¯(●_⚽) (@AFC_DNA) June 30, 2017
What happened to Chris Willock being the star of Arsenal's academy!? #afc
— Bill McLoughlin (@BMcLoughlin93) June 30, 2017
— Shaurya Vineet (@ShauryaVineet) June 30, 2017
Arsenal used to be the club to snatch young stars from other clubs, that's changed now. Sad to see Willock leaving AFC. #AFC
— Eyaya (@Lamda_2) June 30, 2017
Good luck to Chris Willock, hope he thrives at Benfica. A quality young player #afc
— Matt (@MattGrimstead) June 30, 2017