Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reveals what Hector Bellerin told him after Barcelona and PSG transfer talks

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin with manager Mikel Arteta
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin with manager Mikel Arteta (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta admits he was ‘worried’ Hector Bellerin would leave Arsenal and has revealed what the defender told him after being linked with Barcelona and PSG.

Bellerin has spent almost a decade at the Emirates since joining the Premier League club from Barcelona at the age of 16.

Despite his influence in north London and reputation among Arsenal fans, Bellerin was heavily linked with a move away from the club earlier in the summer, with Barcelona and PSG both interested in securing his signature.

Bellerin was even said to have been in talks with the European giants over a move, but Arteta has revealed how he then committed his future to Arsenal in a conversation with the Gunners boss.

Speaking after Arsenal’s victory over Sheffield United in the Premier League, Arteta said: ‘Yes [I feared he may leave] because I understand that after such a long time at the club, and a lot of things that happened in that trajectory of his development, that he doubted whether he was still OK to continue here, what ambitions he had here, how he can evolve here.

‘But what I liked is that he came to me and said, “I can see what we are trying to do here and I’m convinced it’s the right place for me”.

‘Then when you close that window, you can open the next one. He was a completely different player that I could see in training with his energy level as well, and his willingness to work a little bit more all of the time.

‘We need to keep him fit as well, that’s one of the issues he’s had in the last few years because he’s been really unlucky with injuries.

‘You want to have that consistency and at this level of performance, you have to be fit. There’s no other way.’

Arteta added: ‘I think I have to tell him, first of all that I was very honest with what I said about him. And then I let him think.

‘I wanted him to talk to his family, his people, and he came straight back to me to tell me that he was 100 per cent committed and happy to be here.

‘This is the kind of player we need here. There is no 50:50 or 80:20, we want to do what we want to do and that requires 100 per cent commitment.’

On Arsenal’s victory over Sheffield United – which was inspired by goals from Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe – Arteta added: ‘What I liked is we adapted to a very different scenario.

‘We had the right patience. We need to improve to score the third one but it was good.

‘The team is evolving in the right way in possession. We increased our ball speed, attacked with more purpose.’

Arsenal goalscorer Saka, meanwhile, added: ‘All the things that have happened to me. I feel blessed. I’m a happy man.

Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal beat Sheffield United
Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal beat Sheffield United (Picture: Getty)

‘I don’t get a lot of headers but it fell perfectly for me. I told Hector what a cross it was. It is the kind of patterns we work on.

‘I am trying to do my best when the boss picks me. I try to repay the trust.

‘We gave so much credit to Sheffield United as they are a good side. We are happy to get the points.’

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