According to a report in The Times on Monday night, Hector Bellerin could be set to reject a new 5-year contract offer extension at Arsenal as his preference is to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Barcelona have been the club most regularly linked with a move for the Spaniard, but if you believe the papers it may be Guardiola’s side that makes a successful move for him. Bellerin joined Arsenal as a teenager, opting to leave the Spanish club. It was a similar move to how Cesc Fabregas ended up at Arsenal, although Gunners fans will hope that with Hector, there is a different conclusion.
City though, are desperate for a full back of Bellerin’s calibre. On the right hand side of the defence they currently have the aging duo of Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna – it’s clear the improvement he would make to Manchester City’s team, especially because of the way that Pep places emphasis on his full backs in build-up play, Bellerin would thrive in such a role.
Bellerin was developed at Barcelona and Arsenal, so he has had a brilliant football education and because of that, good ball skills – a must for all Pep’s jigsaw pieces. Another huge asset of Hector’s is his blistering pace, often providing a safety barrier for Arsenal when other defenders are left behind. Most recently he demonstrated this with a quality last man tackle on Pedro in the clubs 3-0 win vs. Chelsea, but in his short time in the first team, Bellerin has already saved several points for his team because of his pace.
Personally I find it hard to believe that Bellerin – a player who has matured and excelled at Arsenal, would leave to join Manchester City. Yes Pep’s influence is massive, but the player loves London, he’s thriving at Arsenal and right now at least, there’s no real reason for him to leave. He has often made sly digs at the likes of Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas for joining English rivals and when publicly asked, he has always refuted suggestions that he may leave The Emirates any time soon.
Honeslty I expect Bellerin to sign a new 5-year contract with Arsenal this season. I think he sees his immediate future at Arsenal and although there may be a silent acknowledgement amongst the Arsenal fans that one day he may go back to Barca, everyone hopes that Arsenal will be the only English club he ever plays for. I also think that even if Hector would like to play for Barcelona, he doesn’t need to go and do it yet. A 5-year contract would put to bed the rumours for at least another 3 years, allowing him to keep improving. Arsenal no longer need to sell their star players and in Bellerin, aged just 21, they have a real asset, perhaps the most valuable at the club.
As an Arsenal fan I’m not going to pay much attention to this rumour, and after looking at the facts and quotes, it makes even less sense. I can’t see The Times being right this time.