Hector Bellerin is closing in on a free transfer to Barcelona, per multiple reports. The deal isn’t done yet — the clubs still have to sort out whether it’ll be an agreement for the transfer or a contract termination. Barca also have to agree to personal terms with Bellerin, and he’s expected to take a significant pay cut to facilitate things.
However the move happens, it’ll save the Gunners up to £5M in wages paid to a player who was extremely unlikely to play any meaningful minutes for the club. That’s assuming the deal doesn’t include Arsenal paying him to go away / covering some of his wages. It becomes a less appealing move if it costs the Gunners money.
Arsenal have agreed to let Hector Bellerin join Barcelona. Free transfer - not a contract termination. 27yo awaiting permission to travel for medical after agreeing terms with #FCBarcelona. Taking a pay cut & waiving any payments #AFC owe @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/1C8Fo3mUJl— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) September 1, 2022
Regardless, it seems to be a question of when rather than if the Spanish right back returns to his footballing roots. Bellerin spent eight years in Barcelona’s academy before joining Arsenal as a 16-year old, and he was periodically linked with a move back to the Spanish giants throughout his time in North London.
Hopefully this is the last contract termination deal for Arsenal. It’s frustrating to get nothing in return for players, especially when it feels as if they have at least nominal value. Barca just loaned Sergino Dest to A.C. Milan. They’ve got an open roster spot for a right back. Hector Bellerin made 32 appearances for a Real Betis team that qualified for the Europa League and won the Copa del Rey. That’s something! You’d like to get some kind of fee for that.
At the same time, it’s tough for me to get too upset about the move, regardless of how it happens and what it may or may not cost. It was time for Hector Bellerin to move on, and I’m glad he’s heading back to Spain. He admitted that he wasn’t in the best place mentally following his ACL tear and during COVID and that the season at Real Betis (where it looked as if he’d end up this summer) rekindled something in him.
Arsenal save some amount of money on his wages. Bellerin goes to a club where he’s going to play and be happier in his personal life. Win-win.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Hector Bellerin. He comes across as a genuinely good dude who is trying to make the world a better place. He always seemed to genuinely love Arsenal, too. I hope he holds onto that. I think he will.