Arsenal have confirmed that Hector Bellerin has left the club after 11 years to join Barcelona.
The Spain international returns to his former club for free on a one-year deal having reportedly waived any payments owed by the Gunners. He is also taking a big pay cut.
It’s claimed Edu has inserted a 25% sell-on clause in the defender’s contract, presumably in case he leaves the Camp Nou in the January transfer window or extends his deal.
Lured to London by Arsene Wenger in 2011, Hector appeared 239 times for the Gunners making 29 assists and scoring nine goals. He was a member of three FA Cup and Community Shield winning squads and earned a place in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year in 2015/16.
For three FA Cups and 239 appearances.
For the dedicated support for our local community, GayGooners and so much more.
For understanding what it means to be a Gooner.
Thank you, Hector ❤️
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 1, 2022
At his peak, he was breathtakingly quick – an attribute that proved very useful at right-back – but he seemed to lose a yard of pace and a bit of confidence following a ruptured ACL injury in January 2019 that kept him sidelined for eight months. Other injuries followed and he didn’t properly regain his place until Mikel Arteta took over as manager a year later.
During the pandemic, he represented his teammates in talks with the club about voluntary pay cuts and attended meetings with Premier League captains to discuss the response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Feminist, vegan, environmentalist, Bojo basher, fashionista; his interests were many, varied and hilariously boiled the piss of middle-aged Nissan Datsun drivers.
In a riposte to anyone who suggested those things were a distraction from his day job, when he moved to Real Betis on loan last year he thrived, not just playing regularly but winning the Copa del Rey.
If he’d had his way, he’d have returned to Seville this summer but their financial complications meant that wasn’t possible. We hope things go well for him at Camp Nou but wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up at Real Betis soon enough.
Mikel Arteta had this to say about Hector: “We today say goodbye to Hector and we thank him so much for his loyalty and commitment to Arsenal Football Club. During his 11 years with Arsenal, Hector won three FA Cups and made nearly 250 appearances – such a huge contribution to the club. I’m privileged to have played in the same squad as Hector for three seasons, wearing the Arsenal shirt and sharing many great moments on and off the football pitch together. We thank you Hector and wish you and your family all the best for your return to Barcelona.”
Hector, adios sweet prince, we’ll miss your Spockney twang.