When you are one of the best young players at your position, you are going to attract attention. The top clubs will like have glowing things to say about you, perhaps even covetous things. So it is little surprise that rumours pop up of a “shock move” for Hector Bellerin to rivals Manchester City or Spanish giants Barcelona mere hours following reports that Arsenal are set to negotiate a new contract to avoid this exact thing.
The math is academic.
For Man City, they are embarking on a path to build a team to dominate England and challenge for Europe. You don’t add Pep Guardiola for any other reason. Their defense at fullback boasts the over-30-years-old crowd of Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaletta. In Bellerin, Arsenal have a 21-year-old talent who outshines everyone in the league, which sounds a lot like something a top club would want. Add the link of Pep and Hector working together as a part of Barcelona’s youth squad, it becomes an easy rumour to create.
There were reports in the summer that Man City approached Arsenal about Bellerin, which were strongly rebuffed by the North London outfit. Some say Arsenal were furious at these attempts to unsettle their player but, either way, the end result was a firm “no sale”.
Barcelona, on the other hand, is a media machine that likes to talk about a lot of things Barcelona related. Player doing well with a tangible link to Barcelona in the past? He must want to come home. He has that Barca DNA*. So reports of their plans to sign Bellerin to be their next legend are akin to crowing at the sun. He’s the only one cocky enough to believe he’s making it rise.
In past years, these rumours would give most Gooners pause. More than one talent has been lured away for trophies and money quite easily by big clubs. Now, though, Wenger has begun to flex Arsenal’s finances to sign new players and keep the stars they have. He has stated that he is not prepared to let his big-named players leave and the new contract for Mesut Özil rumoured to be in the £200,000/wk strongly backs up his intent.
Given all this, one would expect a very good deal coming Bellerin’s way (initial thoughts are at least a doubling of his £50,000/wk salary) and that Arsenal will do everything to hold onto their man. Bellerin, himself, has offered words to his future being at Arsenal.
This “shock move” feels like nothing more than something to raise the tension in what will just be a dull contract negotiation.
*Not a thing; I’m a biologist, you can trust me on this.