Chris Willock leaves Arsenal to join Benfica

chris willock benfica

Benfica have announced the signing of Chris Willock from Arsenal on a free transfer.

The 19 year old had been offered new terms by the club but refused to sign, and as his contract expires he had the option of a move to Portuguese giants.

He was a player highly rated by those in the youth set up, but his path to first team football at the Gunners was always going to be a difficult one. As fans demand top quality improvements to the squad, it becomes more difficult for young players to make the breakthrough.

He will certainly find it a little easier at Benfica, and the prospect of first team football, learning a new language and culture is an exciting one.

Very few young English players go abroad so fair play, and best of luck to him over there.

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33 Comments on "Chris Willock leaves Arsenal to join Benfica"

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Your Daily Arsenal

I was really hoping he’d sign a new deal, he was one of the most exciting prospects coming out of the academy.




Is it just me or he looks like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air?


We’ll have to hope that he flourishes as Will Smith did when he moved to a new environment.


Best if luck to him. Great to see young lads trying the european leagues.


I think more young English players should follow his path abroard.


Well, the ones who aren’t going to make the first team….

Chippys chip

Or who arnt given a chance.


Either because they are not good enough, or the competition ahead of them is just too great…… He plays on the left wing, same side as Alexis, so it’s sad but I would never expect him to be selected ahead of Alexis or even Gibbs.


How many of them have gone on to tear it up? Arsenal is one of the few clubs which gives youngsters a chance. But they have to be good enough. He obviously didn’t feel that he was.


Or maybe he thinks he is too good to stay.


I agree. That way we can actually see if they have the level to compete at top level. Benfica gives young players the chance to play top level football. And their coaches are most likely at a top level too.


Happy for him. People moaning on twitter but we’ve done the same with Toral, Fabregas, Bellerin, and others so we can’t complain when this sort of deal is against us.

Massive credit to him for a) going and trying a new league, new language, different culture and b) not going to play for Man City reserves for a load of money which was widely reported earlier on in the season.

Absolute credit to him for being brave rather than taking the easy route (other English players watch closely if he does well) and I hope it works out but also hoping he doesn’t come to haunt us in Europe any time soon!

Super Joshi

We can call on his Arsenal DNA in 2 years if he’s ripping it up out there.


All the best to you mate. Make a name for yourself and come back to The Arsenal!


That guys got an awesome mustache!


You have to respect a kid with broad enough horizons to go abroad. It’s a huge failing of England’s youth system that more don’t do it, even on loan.


Best of luck to him. Bold choice for anyone that age to up sticks and move abroad so good on him.

Hes been one of the brighter sparks for the youth teams in the last couple of years. I really hope he doesn’t turn into ‘the one who got away’…

Clive St Helmet

Best of luck to the lad. A real talent with enormous potential, putting his career first. Good for him. I hope he makes it, and if so I hope one day he comes back to us!


Always rated Chris Willock and believe he will make it in the Turkish league. He must have caught their eye during his exploits in the UEFA U-19s champions league because he was really good for us in one of those runs.

Bold decision too, as I imagine, other than city where he still won’t get the playing time he seeks, a fair few lower league and lower placed sides must have been interested. He chose a European giant which will only do him good, for visibility. Congrats to the lad.

Mes O\'Neill

Would find it tough to do well in the Turkish league seeing as he plays in Portugal


Either that or he’s so good he can win points in Turkey from Portugal. Now that is talented.

Matt Scarbro

Benfica rather than Besiktas, so Portugal instead.?


wish him well, this could be a good decision on the football front. He knows his first team chances are near impossible at arsenal because reiss nelson has gone ahead. To be fare his very talented but reiss is two years younger and his defensive, physical abilities are already better. Reiss is awesome going forward and is also more versatile.
This is not a conclusion that reiss will make a better career though as u never can tell what one year of development will do to a young players career. Iwobi is classic example, who one year before he broke in was not in the list of top 5 or top 7 youngster to break into the first team. At the time zelalem, Crowley, akpom, maitland-niles, toral and wellington were all ahead of him.


Lisbon. What a great city.


Lisbon. What a great city


Lisbon. What, a great city?

Determined Culture

Im thinking if we add top too quality players and complement them with youth would that work? Meaning perhaps per or gabriel, elneny, perez (and maybe theo gulp) out, and have 4-5 young academic players in. These players will be part of the first team, probably end up getting 20 games or so a season?
Crazy idea.

Andy Mack

Unfortunately the down side of having such a competitive Premier League is that the top teams are rarely in a position to give youth players any 1st team game-time. The only option really is to give them ‘TinPot Cup’ games or occasionally some FA Cup games against the much lower league opposition.
It’s a shame as youngsters really need game-time to make the step-up to senior level, but our only real option is to loan them out and most teams will choose their own players to play, ahead of regular games for other teams youngsters to learn the game…

David C

great signing by the Portuguese Super Mario!

Best of luck Chris.




The PFA should be supporting players like him trying to make it. The only way England will have a chance of winning the world cup again is with players understanding different styles of play.