Hector Bellerin has revealed that he was set to leave the club on loan before circumstances saw him make his breakthrough into the first team on a regular basis.
Starting the season as third choice for the right-back spot behind Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, a spell elsewhere to develop his game seemed the sensible option, but the Frenchman picked up the first of his serious injuries meaning he was required as cover.
When Chambers’ form dipped, Arsene Wenger gave the young Spaniard his chance and he’s been one of the success stories of the season – even if there have been signs of his inexperience from time to time.
“I was really close to leaving on loan again,” he told the official site. “I was talking to the coaches about where to go next season, but it turned out way differently.
“I knew that I was going to work hard wherever I was, fight for a spot wherever I was, and that’s what I did. I got my chance and I think I took it.
“If someone would have told me that this was a position I would do well in this season, I wouldn’t have believed them.
“We’re still fighting for the second spot and we’re in the FA Cup final. Everything has been a surprise to me and I’m really, really enjoying it.”
It’s another illustration of how important timing and circumstance can be in a player’s career. It will be interesting to see if he keeps his spot for the FA Cup final.
Debuchy is reportedly back in training and if fit would probably be the manager’s choice, but we’ll see how it goes.