Hector Bellerin should not be allowed to leave Arsenal this summer.
Prior to yesterday, I tried to brush reports linking Hector Bellerin with a move away from Arsenal under the rug. I thought the idea of letting not only our best right-back, but also one of our longest serving players leave the club was just inconceivable.
However, concrete reports from The Athletic strongly suggested that there is some truth behind the rumours. If a suitable offer comes in, Bellerin will be allowed to leave Arsenal.
Now, it’d be wrong to suggest that Bellerin is currently the be-all and end-all at right-back. In fact, at the moment, he’s far from it. Since returning from his injury, he’s noticeably struggled offensively, and he still doesn’t look like he’s recaptured all of the lightning speed he once had. In addition to this, he’s often looked clumsy on the ball.
Nevertheless, these are not the signs of a bad player. These factors indicate that the Spaniard is still a little while away from full sharpness. In all likelihood, Bellerin will become one of Europe’s top full-backs once again in the near future.
The clubs interested in the Spanish full-back exemplify the calibre of player we have in the Spaniard. PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus are said to hold a significant interest in the 25-year-old.
Would such high-profile clubs be tentative to his situation if they didn’t think Bellerin would be able recapture his pre-injury form? Of course not. Sell him to a top European side and it’s probable that we’ll have another Serge Gnabry situation on our hands. We would regret it.
And if those at Arsenal don’t believe Bellerin would have to be replaced they are grossly misled. In Ainsley Maitland-Niles, we have a player who could provide Bellerin some stiff competition at right-back but not a player who is capable of starting in a back four week in week out. Maitland-Niles’ inability to overlap effectively would just leave Nicolas Pépé more isolated than ever before.
Then, Çedric Soares isn’t even half the player a fully fit Bellerin is. Therefore, the money obtained by selling Bellerin would likely have to be re-invested into signing a replacement right-back. It’s pointless.
There’s no if or but in this situation. In a flat back four, which Mikel Arteta’s side are expected to revert to in the not too distant future, Bellerin is our best option on the right hand side. Both in terms of his offensive and defensive abilities. He knows the role inside out and keeping him would mean we wouldn’t have to gamble on Maitland-Niles doing as well at full-back as he has done recently at wing-back. It’s plain and simple. Hector Bellerin should not be sold under any circumstance in the coming weeks.