By 90Min
May 14, 2018

Not many players have enjoyed as much first team football by the age of 23 as Hector Bellerin. With a 161 appearances already to his name, the full back has been one of Arsenal's key players since bursting on to the scene in 2014.

 

The talent and ability of the 23-year-old is something to behold and it is no surprise that some of Europe's biggest clubs have shown an interest in him. 

The former Barcelona academy starlet is also the sole (current) Arsenal player to be named in a PFA Team of the Year in the past three seasons, after a great run of form in the 2015/16 campaign.

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However, the past season at Arsenal has been somewhat of a let down for Bellerin and, in fairness, for the club as a whole.

 

While many have seen Bellerin's slump as a sign of a slow decline, and his previous surge a blip on his career trajectory, it is foolish to write him off just yet.

One simple but potentially key reason for his struggles season could be down to the fact that he doesn't have any proper competition at right back at the Gunners. 

 

With 46 appearances, Bellerin is the player that featured the second most for Arsenal this season, behind only midfielder Granit Xhaka. 

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Arsenal were fortunate enough to keep Bellerin fit for most of the season. An injury to the player could've caused major disruptions to an already vulnerable defensive structure. A bit of healthy competition (and rotation amidst the slog of domestic and European cup runs) might have helped the Spaniard rejuvenate his form.

Carl Jenkinson's loan move to Birmingham City this season and Mathieu Debuchy leaving for Saint-Etienne in January, have seen Bellerin become the only candidate at right back for Arsene Wenger.


Calum Chambers has helped to fill the voids for Arsenal this season, but the Englishman can't be seen as a player who would give Bellerin a realistic run for his money - especially not with Arsenal playing with four defenders at the back again.

Although it looks as if Bellerin is definitely staying at Arsenal, where he is under contract until 2022, speculation suggested a few times this season that he might eventually forge a path back to Barcelona, where he started his career.

Arsenal can ill afford to lose experience squad members like Bellerin right now as the club prepares for life after Wenger and its most difficult transition in decades. 

However, while keeping Bellerin happy will be the order of the day for the new Arsenal manager, whoever comes in might find it rewarding next season to have a good second choice option at right back. Finding someone that will challenge Bellerin for his spot may be the best solution to ultimately bringing the best out of the Spaniard who recently described himself as feeling at home in London.

 

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