News surfaced this week that 19-year-old right-back Héctor Bellerín has agreed to a contract extension with Arsenal. Gunners manager Arsene Wenger confirmed this rumor during his customary Friday press conference. The deal is expected to keep the young Spaniard at the north London club until the summer of 2019.
Arsenal fans will surely be pleased upon hearing of the new agreement with Bellerín, as the youngster has been an outstanding surprise this season filling in for the injured Mathieu Debuchy. Bellerín, who transferred from Barcelona to the Gunners in the summer of 2011, has been the usual starter at right-back (over Calum Chambers) since Debuchy went down with a long-term injury in January.
While many assumed that Chambers would be the one to step up in Debuchy’s absence, Bellerín has done an excellent job on the right side of the Arsenal defense. The U-19 Spain international has the pace to hang with any winger/forward in the Premier League (he even reportedly outran speedster Theo Walcott earlier in the season) and provides the Gunner offense with adequate support going forward into the opponents’ territory.
Bellerín’s gusto going forward was echoed in a recent interview with his club. The youngster stated, “I really like players like Pablo Zabaleta, I think he’s a really complete player when he’s attacking and defending. Also Cafu, who was an attacking right back as well, Dani Alves too — they’re the players that I can try to get the techniques and the positioning from.”
One most likely consequence of a potential fresh contract for Bellerín is that Carl Jenkinson, currently on loan at fellow London-based club West Ham, will almost certainly be sold during the summer transfer period.
The Hammers are reportedly keen on signing Jenkinson following the 23-year-old’s successful campaign at Upton Park this season. Reports surfaced earlier in the week that Arsenal are looking for a £10 million transfer fee for Jenkinson’s services.
Although Jenkinson is somewhat of a fan favorite at Arsenal, the Gunners currently have three right-backs (Chambers, Debuchy, and now possibly Bellerín) tied down to long-term contracts with the club.
With normal starter Debuchy turning 30 this summer, and Chambers’s lack of pace being exposed at the right-back position earlier in the season, it is Bellerín that looks set to be Arsenal’s right-back of the future.
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