Of all the Arsenal squad there are few, perhaps none, whose connection with the squad is as deep as that of Hector Bellerin.
Among first team players only Mesut Ozil and Emiliano Martinez are longer serving. Only the former has made more appearances.
Whilst Ozil has been ostracised Bellerin has grown in prominence since signing his current contract late in 2016, tying himself to the club for six-and-a-half-years. The Spaniard, although it may be fair to name him an adopted Londoner, is a more vocal presence off the pitch than his on field demeanour indicates and is understood to have been part of Arsenal’s player leadership council since Arsene Wenger’s final season.
The bond between Bellerin and many supporters is deep, going beyond just his performances, which have fluctuated with injuries, to the example he sets for what a footballer can achieve. He is not afraid to speak his mind and to address issues beyond his sport.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will start in8Cancel
Equally Bellerin feels a deep affection for Arsenal. He explained it as cogently as any fan could in an interview with the Guardian last year. “I don’t hate Tottenham because they told me to hate them,” he said. “I hate them because I love Arsenal.”
Yet Bellerin views the current market as a crossroads for his career. At 25 he has ambitions to fulfill his rich potential. football.london understands that he reluctantly finds himself asking whether another rebuild at the Emirates Stadium, even one helmed by Mikel Arteta, is the right place to be for his prime.
Meanwhile several of Europe’s top clubs have him on their radar. football.london revealed earlier today that Bayern Munich are tracking Bellerin, as are Juventus.
Later in the day Paris Saint-Germain advanced their interest further and have indicated a readiness to bid for Bellerin’s services. Arsenal could…