Over the years, Hector Bellerin has become an integral part of Arsenal’s identity, both on the pitch and off.
Rumors are swirling around the right-back’s Arsenal future and the final decision made over his future could shape the future of the club for years to come.
Perhaps the most high-profile departure from Arsenal this season is the rumored exodus of Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin. Since turning heads during the 2014/15 season, he has become ever-present in the Arsenal first team.
His electrifying pace and exciting potential instantly made him a fan favorite. However, six years and four managers later, Bellerin’s position at the club seems more tenuous than ever. The Spaniard being is linked with a move away to PSG and Barcelona, with Arsenal holding out for near £35m to help fund a major rebuild of the squad.
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Hector certainly divides opinion between Arsenal supporters as both a player and a character. Some sections of the fanbase view Bellerin as one of our own, a player who has risen through the ranks to become an influential member and even a leader among the first team players. Bellerin is, after all, Arsenal’s PFA representative and vice-captain, proving he is well thought of by his peers.
However, Bellerin also projects a visage of a man who is concerned with many things beyond football. His love for fashion is well documented, and often blown out of proportion in all honesty. He has a keen eye for business, activism and media with several ventures and a successful YouTube channel where he creates unique and quality content. Bellerin’s One Tree Planted project has been a great success as well, and he even mentioned in a recent interview that it was gaining traction among the younger players in the locker room such as Bukayo Saka.
Most recently, Bellerin became a shareholder with League Two side Forest Green Rovers. The Gloucestershire outfit has been declared the first carbon-neutral football club by the United Nations. All of these elements of Bellerin’s personality paint the picture of a well-rounded and thoughtful person, but there is a vocal contingent of fans who feel that Bellerin is far too concerned with his work and image off the pitch and not fully focused on becoming the right-back Arsenal need.
Hence, the potential departure of Bellerin has presented a unique opportunity for both the player and the club. At twenty-five years of age, Bellerin is at a pivotal point in his career. He is by no means positioned for his last big move, but what he decides to do in this transfer window could be a career-defining moment. The player is probably ready for a new challenge and Champions League regulars PSG (although they look out of the race) and Barcelona could pose the fresh frontier that will ultimately bring the best out of him.
Conversely, the Gunners is in a precarious situation currently. Without raising major funds in this window the club will not be able to reconstruct to the full extent necessary to challenge for the top four. With a surplus of borderline mediocre center-backs and a dearth of top-quality midfield talent, Arsenal will need to be creative in how they execute their transfer business.
While many fans, myself included, will be saddened to see him go if he chooses to, Bellerin will depart north London a very decorated player, and will most likely look back on his career fondly. Bellerin turned down suitors after being included in the PFA Team of the year in 2016 now maybe it’s time for both him and the club to make a difficult decision that will benefit both parties.
Bellerin wants to prove that he is much more than just a footballer and ironically by leaving Arsenal he can establish himself as a just that; not a footballer but a hero.