Hector Bellerin left Arsenal in the summer on a free transfer after over a decade at the club.
In the summer, Mikel Arteta made the decision to allow Hector Bellerin to leave the club to end his 11-year stay at Arsenal. The right wing-back was deemed not part of the Gunners boss’ first-team plans this season and completed a free transfer to his boyhood club Barcelona.
Bellerin’s last outing for Arsenal came in May 2021 – the 0-0 Europa League draw with Villarreal – and was shipped out on loan to Real Betis last season following the signing of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White. The 27-year-old made 32 appearances for Los Verdiblancos and helped them lift their first Copa del Rey in 17 years.
The Spaniard has been absent for most of this season since joining at the start of September due to injury and made only his second start for Xavi’s side last night in their Champions League group game against Bayern Munich. With their future already sealed in the competition following Inter’s 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen, Bellerin and co suffered a humiliating evening at the Nou Camp with a 3-0 loss.
Despite their mass summer spending that saw Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Raphinha, and Franck Kessie join Bellerin at the Nou Camp, the Catalonia side have suffered a difficult European campaign this season. Last night’s defeat to Bayern was their third of the group as they now prepare to drop down to the Europa League – where Bellerin could make a return to the Emirates Stadium.
Bellerin replaced Sergi Roberto at right-back and was tasked with the tough challenge of keeping former Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane. At half-time, Bayern were 2-0 and cruising. It took Mane only 10 minutes to score his 10th goal of the season, a goal that Bellerin won’t be best pleased with.
Fellow ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry ticked off his first assist of three on the evening with a ball behind the Barcelona defence. Mane’s positioning meant Bellerin had no knowledge of his presence, and the Senegal international easily opened the scoring after burning the defender for pace. Eric Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard completed the scoring for Julian Nagelsmann’s men to conclude a disastrous night for the La Liga side.
Arteta’s decision to allow Bellerin to depart the Gunners for free now looks to be justified with the consistent performances of Tomiyasu and White. Bellerin’s struggle against one of the best attackers in the world has surfaced further evidence of the transfer strategy implemented by Edu.