Hector Bellerin could leave Arsenal at the end of the season as part of an agreement he has with manager Mikel Arteta.
The Spanish right-back, who signed for the Gunners way back in 2011, was linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain and former club Barcelona last summer, but a transfer never materialised. It’s thought Arsenal’s asking price was not met by either European giant and so he remained in north London.
Bellerin is currently the first-choice right-back at the Emirates Stadium and has made 28 appearances in all competitions this season. But according to ESPN, he was considering an exit until his old friend and now boss Arteta pleaded with him to stay for one more year.
ESPN add there is ‘a sense from both sides’ that this upcoming summer represents the right time for the 25-year-old to move on given he’ll be entering into the final two years of his contract, although nothing has been firmly decided at this stage.
Arteta spoke of his relationship with Bellerin during a recent press conference and described it as ‘tricky’ given the pair were formerly teammates.
“You can’t change your feelings towards somebody but then you have to be fair, you have to be really demanding as well, and it has to be a space that has to be shared and lived in, in a different way between a player and a manager,” Arteta said. “It doesn’t mean that your feelings are different towards the person.”
Bellerin’s relationship with his Arteta is said to have been key in the talks between the club and players last April regarding pay cuts, and while there has been much debate about his impact on the pitch of late, his influence off it remains as strong as ever.