Real Betis have confirmed the signing of Hector Bellerin on loan for the season.
The 26-year-old returns to Spain after a decade at Arsenal having indicated to Mikel Arteta earlier in the summer that he was keen to leave the club.
The first links with Betis – the club Hector’s father supports – surfaced in May but it was believed his wages would make a deal difficult. The right-back subsequently made it clear he’d be willing to take a pay cut to secure a move.
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) August 31, 2021
After a flirtation with Inter Milan came to nothing, stories circled that Arsenal were open to the right-back, who is under contract until 2023, signing a new deal. It doesn’t look like that has come to pass meaning he’ll be just 12 months out from becoming a free agent on his return to London.
Nine goals, 29 assists in 239 games for Arsenal is no mean feat for a kid who looked completely out of his depth on his Champions League debut against Borussia Dortmund in 2014.
He proved his early doubters wrong to secure a place in the PFA Team of the Year in 2015/16, picked up a couple of FA Cup medals and was just an all-round good lad, leveraging his status within the game to talk about the environment, veganism and mental health. He was also sent into bat by his Arsenal teammates when pay cuts were proposed by the club and stepped up to discuss racial inequality and Covid-19 charitable efforts with his peers.
While it’s harsh to suggest things have unraveled for him, nine months on the sidelines with a ruptured ACL suffered in January 2019, coupled with the club’s poor form, seem to have hit his confidence.
He’s not playing at the level he was and with that in mind, you can completely understand why he’d want to try something new. We’ll miss his hair, his mo and his mimicking of Kieran ‘tucked-in-shirt’ Tierney.
Have a good one, Hector. We’ll see you in a year.