FC Barcelona have been handed a huge blow in their efforts to land Hector Bellerin, as the Arsenal FC fullback committed his future to the Gunners.
Bellerin, who is currently with the Spanish international squad in Euro 2016 preparing for their first match of the tournament against the Czech Republic, confirmed that he will be staying at Arsenal, in an interview with Spanish outlet Eco Diario.
“I am very happy at Arsenal,” said Bellerin. “I renewed last year and have many years left. I am very happy. In football you can always spend a lot, but I’m in the Arsenal, giving everything for the club. I do not think about going to anywhere else.”
Bellerin has had a great season at Arsenal, becoming the Gunners’ regular full back ahead of Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy.
In fact, Bellerin has become one of the first names on manager Arsene Wenger’s team sheet over the course of the 2015/16 season, starting in 36 out of Arsenal’s 38 Premier League. The pacey fullback has thrived in North London, completing more successful dribbles than any other defender in the league last season.
Bellerin, who had moved from Barcelona’s La Masia football academy to Arsenal’s youth academy in 2011, is reportedly on the radar of the Catalan club, which wants to bring him back to the Nou Camp.
Barcelona have recently had to let premier right back Dani Alves go to Serie A champions Juventus on a free transfer, and are reportedly looking for a long term replacement for Alves.
Is Bellerin the next Alves?
Dani Alves has been one of the best right full-backs in Europe in the last eight years, helping the Catalans win six La Liga titles, four Copa Del Rey titles, and three Champions League titles.
However, like all good things, Alevs’ time at Barcelona has also come to an end after the Brazilian opted to use a clause in his contract, that allowed him to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer of 2016.
While Alves’s time as one of the best fullbacks in the game might have come to an end, as he is now 33-years-old, it might be Bellerin’s time to take up the Brazilian’s mantle.
The Arsenal full-back has created more chances (21) than Alves, and also won more tackles than the Barcelona star, in their respective leagues last season. A couple of good seasons should make Bellerin a serious contender for the title of best full-back. One thing that is definitely in Bellerin’s favour in this regard is his age — 21.