News filtered through yesterday that this season could be the last for Hector Bellerin – with the right back having come to an agreement last summer with Mikel Arteta that he would be free to leave the club in 2021.
I love Hector, but this summer feels like the right time to for him and Arsenal to part ways.
Bellerin left Barcelona to join Arsenal at just 16-years-old, moving to London and developing a Cockney-Spanish accent as a result.
A loan spell at Watford showed his talent and his career looked to be on an upwards path following Matthieu Debuchy’s injury.
Pretty much an ever-present for 3 years, he picked up a horrible ACL injury against Chelsea in early 2019 and has never really recovered.
That injury seemed to take half a yard of pace off him – crucial as he was not the best defender positionally and relied on a burst of pace to beat a man in attack. He has not looked the same player since his return.
Bellerin has come in for criticism for his off the field interests.
I am not sure why liking fashion, being a vegan and caring about the environment led him to come in for so much criticism.
It is actually refreshing to have a player that is clearly an intelligent young man, taking a keen interest in politics (whether you agree with those politics or not) and fashion.
Maybe some fans were threatened by his intelligence? After all, it was Bellerin who was invited to speak at Oxford University whilst they can barely get a coherent word out on Twitter or their YouTube channels.
I would much rather my players take a keen interest in politics and fashion rather then be falling out of night clubs at 2am, pissed as a fart; or lacking so much intelligence that they would be unable to answer the first question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
And why they criticised him for his veganism and caring for the environment baffles me further.
They seemed to associate his veganism with his fitness issues. But Novak Djokovic has just won yet another grand-slam on a plant based diet.
Removing gluten, diary and meat from his diet saw Djokovic’s fitness improve; and since he made the change has gone on to become one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
If you have not watched the Netflix documentary The Game Changers I would advise you to do so.
And then we have the environmental campaigning.
Again, I would much prefer to have a multi dimensional player like Bellerin talking about climate change rather than a player who can barely give a coherent interview.
The likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford have been heavily praised in the media for what they have done outside of football. Speaking out against racism, poverty and other subjects. Intelligent young men.
Bellerin is in the same camp.
Imagine criticising a player because he promoted a charity that plants trees.
We at She Wore supported his drive and donated to One Tree Planted. In the end Hector raised enough to plant 58,617 trees.
Instead of backing the campaign, we saw YouTubers charging £5 a time for people to pay them to have a tweet read out. The fact they failed to join the donation drive shows how hard up they are!
It is probably the right time for Bellerin to leave.
Since his injury he has stagnated; a move away could get his career moving forward again – a fresh challenge.
Whilst for Arsenal, he has become a weak link on that right hand side.
At this point in his career, Bellerin perhaps needs that new challenge.
You came to London as a 16-year-old boy and you have grown into a well rounded, intelligent, multi dimensional young man.
I am sure over the years you have developed thick skin due to those that abuse, and they will celebrate you leaving in their bed sits in Spain, Luton, Barking, Wood Green or America.
But you have achieved more in life, influenced more people, at 25-years-old than these people will in their lifetime.
Bellerin is a positive influence on the world; promoting his causes, his passions.
So Hector, if this is your last season with us, thanks for the last 7 seasons.
Wish you the same Ankit!