It was very astute of Arsene Wenger to persuade Hector Bellerin to sign a new long term extension to his Arsenal contract earlier this season, and he has pre-empted the usual tapping up procedure by Barcelona when they are trying to steal one of our Spanish stars.
He obviously knew that this would happen, just as it did in the case of Cesc Fabregas, but the Gunners have much more bargaining power this time around and can slap a 100 million price tag on Bellerin to keep the Catalans at bay if they so wish. Wenger is in a position of power for change.
According to a report today in the Independent, Barca were hoping to get Bellerin to make “enough noise” to persuade Wenger to let him go for the paltry sum of £45m, which is apparently 2/3 of their transfer budget this summer, so there is simply no way that they can go any higher.
But Barca have failed to get the ex-Massia schoolboy to turn against Arsenal, despite getting one of his Spanish U21 team-mates to turn the screw in the dressing room and in the papers, and it would appear that they have now accepted defeat – for this summer at least.
Wenger standing up to Barcelona will certainly go some way to proving to the disillusioned Arsenal fans that we will not simply cave in when bigger clubs try poaching our players, and if we can keep Alexis and Ozil as well, perhaps we will even start believing that we can win the title next season…..