Hector Bellerin; the real solution at Right-Back


It’s been an interesting summer for right-backs at Arsenal.  The protracted saga that was the Bacary Sagna contract negotiations finally ended with the French international darting up north to Manchester City, where a six figure salary and a more likely chance at silverware exists.

Say what you will, but not only was Sagna sure to leave (and likely made his mind up months before), but the club are in fact far better off in the long run; though I will miss the golden-braids flashing up and down the right flank.  Not only have the club solved the hole Sagna left in temporary fashion, but the Gunners have put themselves in an excellent position for the future.

The purchase of Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle for 12million pounds was an initial piece of fantastic business by Le Prof.  Debuchy, the man to keep Sagna out of the French XI this summer in Brazil, is just as good as his compatriot defensively, while giving you an upgrade on the offensive side of the ball.  Seemingly at first it was problem solved, but Wenger was not done.

Soon after, England U-19 captain Calum Chambers would next call the Emirates home after completing his 16million pound move from transfer ravaged Southampton.  Another very good defender, capable of playing anywhere in the back-line and midfield as well, Gooners thought the club was now set up for the long term at defense; then the bombshell from Wenger stating that he saw Chambers long term future at the club in defensive midfield again raised questions; Wenger had the answer all along.

Young Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin, at the club since 2011 after he was prized away from La Masia, has been that answer.  While the lot of us have known he has been the young system and showing promise, many of us would get our first real taste of the things to come when he featured for the Gunners against Benfica in the Emirates Cup; he was brilliant.

Bellerin celebrates with goal-scorers Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo during Arsenal’s 5-1 win against Benfica

Showing composure on both sides of the ball, blistering pace, defensive awareness far beyond his tender years and an ability to take players on players that left you with a few mouth watering attacking moves on his behalf, the Spanish youth international is one for the future; which makes the signing of Debuchy all the more clear and necessary.

With interest in Serge Aurier this summer, many questioned why Wenger did not cling to the Ivorian with both hands.  One of the best up and coming right-backs in the world, Wenger could have had is man if he wanted him, but Bellerin must surely be the reason for Debuchy being brought in.  Close to pushing 30, Debuchy is very experienced at both club and international level, and was quite successful at Newcastle – who better to learn from?

While Debuchy’s contract see’s him at the club past the age of thirty, if Bellerin (now the top jet fighter at the club) continues his progression, there is no reason that he will not be the first choice right-back at the club in the next two or three years.

For those of you who remember Marc Overmars, that is what I see when I picture the youngster.  Yes the Dutchman was a winger, but Bellerin exhibits that same killer pace, ability with the ball at his feet, and killer final ball that Wenger is out for; they’re even similar in stature, running style and physical build – but, you know, Bellerin does that whole defending thing as well.

With Carl Jenkinson banished to Upton Park for a season-long loan at West Ham, but Bellerin remaining at the club, it’s clear that Wenger has now set his sights on Hector Bellerin to be fast-tracked to first team contributions, maybe even as soon as this season.  Likely to feature in the domestic cups, he’ll have every chance to continue his development as Debuchy’s understudy.

Like many, I have questioned Wenger’s dealings in the transfer market for a long time, but even this time he has proven this summer that he has a plan.  While the real solution is only a few years away, Hector Bellerin is absolutely worth the wait.