Mikel Arteta says he’s sad to see Hector Bellerin leave the club but he admits his compatriot and former teammate needed a new challenge.
After a summer in which he was linked with PSG, Barcelona and Inter Milan, the right-back had to wait until transfer deadline day to secure a move to Real Betis; the club his father supports.
While the deal is only temporary, it’s widely assumed that the 26-year-old will leave the Emirates on a permanent basis next summer when he has one year left on his contract.
Reflecting on the decision to let Hector go, Arteta said: “It’s been a long time [at Arsenal], he’s been a really important part of everything that happened at the club in the last 10 years.
“He’s an exceptional player and an incredible person. He’ll be missed. To find someone like Hector is not easy. He’s been raised here with us and is loved by everybody at the football club.
“I have to say goodbye with sadness but at the same time I had to understand his position. He needed a new challenge, he’s been needing a new challenge for a while, so after discussing for a long time, we decided to let him go. We decided it was the right thing for him.”
Hector was recruited from Barcelona as a 16-year-old by Arsene Wenger and went on to make 239 appearances.