Hector Bellerin has put the cat slightly among the pigeons with some quotes about his future, Arsenal, Barcelona interest and all the rest.
As ever, snippets condensed into 140 character Tweets or choice cuts in tabloid stories don’t tell you the full story, so we’ve translated the interview with El Mundo in full (although we’ve left out some of the stuff about Spain U21s because, you know, who cares?!).
Anyway, here we go.
On a personal level, you’re in good shape after your good end to the season?
It has been a difficult season, both for the team and on a personal level. There has been a lot of pressure around the club, because Arsenal is a top level team and there are lots of demands. It has been hard, but you learn a lot from these experiences. It’s something that will help me during my career. In the end we won the FA Cup, an important trophy for us which meant we could finish the season well.
After going through some difficult times, the season ended by lifting a trophy and you scoring a goal in the last game of the Premier League.
Yes, I found it hard to score, the goal didn’t come until the last day of the season. It was something nice, because after all the criticism and not playing as much as in other seasons, it took some of the pressure off. For the club to win a trophy was important and really enjoyable. We suffered a lot but in the end we finished well.
Why did you end up out of the team?
There was a change of system, I spoke with the boss and he explained to me that with this new system he preferred to play with different kinds of players. As a footballer you have to accept that and work hard to change his mind. After injuries and other factors, I took advantage of the opportunity to come back into the team, and I could finish the season as I wanted.
Now, it’s being asked every day if you’ll continue with Arsenal.
That’s what they talk about. You never know what can happen, but I have a contract and when I finish my holidays after the European Championships, I’ll have go to back there (note: this reads more like a statement of fact than an ‘Oh god I have to go back there’).
Is there a deadline set to decide your future?
I signed a new contract at Christmas, it’s contracts that do that (define the future) although you never know what can happen in football.
Is the fact that Arsenal don’t have Champions League football an influence?
The truth is that all the top level players want to play the Champions League, especially when I’ve spent two years in. As a team we have not achieved qualification, and it is something that we all want to fix, but as a player I repeat that it is an important competition.
The last time we spoke you said you were very close to Wenger. At last we know he’s going to continue. Will this influence your future?
We didn’t know how this story was going to end, in the end he’s decided to stay on, but I am linked to Arsenal. The fact that he’s staying doesn’t really change things, with any other coach I would have to stay because of my contract. Lots of the players are very happy that he’s renewed, but in the end if you’re an Arsenal player you have to do it for the club, whichever coach is there.
Do you see a return to the Camp Nou as a possibility?
It’s nice to know of the interest of a club like Barcelona, the club I grew up at from a young age. At the moment I don’t know anything, I’m an Arsenal player and we’ll see what happens.
If it were up to you, would you like to come back?
It’s not something you think about when you leave, because you never know how things are going to go. I had the luck to bet on Arsenal, it’s gone well for me, and now to receive this kind of news about Barcelona is something that makes me happy, but it doesn’t just depend on me.
How is life in London?
I’ve always felt well there, my family were there with me, although because of family matters they’ve come back to Barcelona. Now I have a harder time because I’m a real family man, I depend a lot on them, and I will be a new challenge to be without them.
Is Mareseme (the region he’s from) a better place to live?
Of course. Not just for friends and family. The weather is much better! But I adapt to wherever I am.
What are your hopes for this summer?
Lots of things could happen this summer. At the moment I prefer to focus on what’s in front of me, which is the European U21 Championships. After that, whatever comes will come.
Is there a lot of pressure to sign for Barcelona?
I try to focus on my job, to concentrate on football, and when other things happen we’ll see.
Have you spoken about a possible transfer?
No, I haven’t spoken with anybody. I have not talked to the club, I know there are many things that are being talked about, but as a player the club has not said anything to me, there has been no contact yet.
So, a Barcelona kid being asked all the time about moving back to a club he certainly doesn’t want to shut the door on for obvious reasons, and trying to find different ways of politely answering the same questions again.
There might well have been a change in his outlook, but we know how the press there work, and ultimately he signed a 6 year contract with us last year, so the chances of him going anywhere are minimal to say the least.
The bit about Wenger saying he preferred a different type of player for the new system is interesting though, especially as Bellerin is perfect for the right wing-back role. Anyway, there you go, make of it all what you will.