He got a lot of (unfair) criticism at Crystal Palace, which has maybe led him to fall out of love with the club a bit, and he has certainly had his head turned by Barcelona. But Arsenal need to do everything they can to keep Hector Bellerin at the club.
Whilst a reported offer of £45m is – too some – too big to turn down, if Arsenal want to win the league next year, they need to keep their key players at the club. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Hector Bellerin, etc.
The offer of £45m is massive, and 5 years ago we would have had to have accepted it. But Arsenal is a different place now. A club that no longer needs to sell to buy. A club that is offering £100m for an 18 year old with hardly any experience.
We reportedly have £150m to spend on transfer this summer. We do not need to inflate that amount by cashing in on Hector Bellerin. It is more important that we keep the squad strong, and together.
Some will point to the fact that Bellerin lost his place in the starting XI at the back end of last season. That he is now expendable. That £45m for what is now a squad player rather than a first teamer is something Arsenal should seriously consider. These people are incorrect.
Whilst Bellerin might have fallen down the pecking order in the later end of the season, he is a very important member of the squad.
When we play 3 at the back, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is first choice at right wing back. But the Ox has his own problems. He is injury prone. Unable to put a consistent run of games together.
Having moved to 3 at the back, the Ox played 5 of the first 6 games in the new formation. He then picked up an injury against Southampton which ruled him out of the next 3 games. He is fragile and his work load needs to be managed.
Therefore you need a top quality back up who can be rotated in to manage the Ox’s work load. Bellerin is that man.
Up the road at Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino has shown a tendency to rotate his wing backs on almost a game by game basis. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose one week, Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies the next.
Whilst I do not think you need to change the wing backs every game, and I certainly will not be looking at a manager who has won nothing for tips, it is true that your wing backs get through a lot of work every game, and with Arsenal set to play around 50 games next season, we need to keep the squad rotated and fresh.
Oxlade-Chamberlain can not play 50 games a season. His back up needs to be of equal quality. And we have not yet even discussed the Ox’s contract situation. With one year set to run, were he to refuse to sign, it would potentially leave Arsenal without a quality right wing back. Losing Bellerin would also give even more power to the Ox who could point to the fact he will be the only decent right wing back at the club next season, and pretty much name his price.
You then have the scenario if Arsenal return to 4 at the back. With Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson set to leave this summer, allowing Bellerin to also leave would put Arsenal in a situation where we do not have a single right back at the club – Oxlade-Chamberlain is not good enough defensively to play right back.
The other option in the squad would be Calum Chambers.
Chambers would provide good cover for a first choice full back, but I am sure we all agree that he is not at the standard required to be first choice full back. His future is at centre back, with the ability to cover a full back if needed.
If Arsenal let Bellerin go, we would then need to buy a new right back – who would probably then cost £45m and not be as good.
Bellerin signed a new 6-and-a-half year deal back in November. This will keep him with the club until 2023. Arsenal are in no rush to sell. Keep hold of Bellerin, prove to him that he will get enough game time in the new formation. Regain Champions League football next year. Get Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on a new long term deal.
And in 2018 if Bellerin still wants to leave, F**k him off and he will still be worth £45m.