Why I want to keep Bellerin at Arsenal next season.
A year ago, Arsenal’s current longest servant and youth academy graduate, Hector Bellerin left on a season long loan to Real Betis in his native country Spain, most Arsenal fans didn’t expect him to play for the Gunners again.
The 27-year-old right back joined the Arsenal academy in 2011 and was known for his fast pace as he broke into the first team under Wenger, he went on to be the only Arsenal player in the 2015/16 PFA Team of the year, which earnt him a bumper contract until 2023.
However, after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury against Chelsea in 2019, he was out of action for nine months with potentially a career changing injury.
He returned in September 2020 and scored the 87th minute 2-2 equaliser against Chelsea that season, as well as playing the full 90 minutes against the Blues in our FA cup final win later that campaign.
But in August 2021 Bellerin left for Spain, he was very vocal about his love for his new club and played a key role as Real Betis won the Copa del Rey.
In tears after his final game for the club he said: “I hope we can meet again, Viva el Betis” which sparked rumours about a permanent transfer for the player but his £100,000 a week wages proved to be an issue.
With only a year left on his contract, Bellerin would even take a wage cut to a reported £34,000 a week to re-join Betis and has also had interest from Roma, Florentina, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus at around an £8 million fee.
Yet after returning to Arsenal he was given the captains armband in a behind-closed-door 5-1 win against Ipswich town.
So, what should we do with the Hector Bellerin?
I know that he is not the same player as he was five years ago and has lost pace since his ACL injury, there was also a lot of fans annoyed at his attention being on fashion not football.
It’s clear, he won’t make it into our first team especially if we want to be a top four side, but I think that he would be a decent squad player and do a better job than Cedric as backup to Tomiyasu.
He knows Arsenal inside out after being there for over a decade and would add some much-needed experience for our young squad; able to advise those trying to make the step that he made into the first team, and advise on how to recover from big injuries.
As well as this, he is a good ambassador for the club, designing our FA cup final suits with his own company ‘44’ and filming his recovery process of his ACL injury via his YouTube channel.
Both things, while external and not related to on-pitch progress, are good publicity for the club and positive impacts in my opinion.
Arteta has not ruled out keeping him in the Arsenal fold after captaining the player, and perhaps he might prefer to keep the player in favour of Cedric who has himself been quite average for Arsenal when stepping in.
Bellerin has done the job, against pretty much all the big teams and he has often done a great job too, he is still a player who can be reliable, especially in a more defensively sound Arsenal team.
It feels like there is two main issues why Arsenal fans want Bellerin to depart:
- “He is a Real Betis fan and clearly loves another club”
The fact that his family grew up as Betis supporters breaks this illusion that all Arsenal players must only support the club, while this is true to an extent it would be naive to believe it was the case.
A lot of players probably do not support the club they end up playing for, they may support their previous club or the one they grew up playing for, however it doesn’t affect their ability to give everything for their current club, does it?
Maybe he will end up at Betis after this year, he might want to end his career there, but at only 27, he is not yet a senior and I think that he can still be utilised in this transition period.
I wouldn’t even be that annoyed if he had a year extension, on lower wages.
- “We can get money for him this year, not next”
While I can understand this argument and do appreciate that we need to make some money from players while we spend, I do not think letting him go for £8 million is particularly worth it.
I believe that he can add to this team next year, if Tomiyasu needs another 2/3 months out for injury, I’d prefer Bellerin to take his spot than Cedric, I feel more comfortable with him.
Would you rather have £8 million tomorrow but end up losing late in the season to Newcastle again, because we simply do not have depth or quality to field a strong defence.
I know that Bellerin is no longer the PFA player of the year he was, but he still has a level of quality as shown at Betis and he also has Arsenal in him, you can’t argue, he has spent over a decade with the club.
I think we could do with a player like this during our rebuild, think Millner at Liverpool for example, he would be great mentor for an academy full back.
With one of the most congested seasons ahead of us (due to the Christmas world cup), I think Arsenal fans may be kicking themselves if they throw him out the club too easily.
What do you think Gooners?
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