Hector Bellerin continues to be linked with a summer transfer to Real Betis following a successful loan stint with the La Liga outfit.
The Spanish international has fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium and has made no secret of his desire to join Manuel Pellegrini’s side on a permanent basis ahead of next season. “I have made my position clear to both clubs,” he told Betis TV last month.
“Now we have two months to get the best deal for all three parties. I have always said, I made an effort to come here and I am willing to make every effort to keep it going because it is my home and I am happy.
“It is also true that I had very nice moments in London, in England. Arsenal has given a lot, the opportunity to be a professional. If I leave, it will be difficult, but hopefully everything goes as we want.”
However, Estadio Deportivo have reported that the Gunners are unwilling to let the right-back leave for nothing this summer, something they allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil to do in recent times to offload the duo’s high wages. The north London club are said to be keen to receive a transfer fee, with a swap deal also reportedly something they would consider.
Here, football.london takes a look at two Betis players that Arsenal would consider swapping for Bellerin in a hypothetical swap move.
The most obvious candidate would be talented playmaker Fekir, who joined from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon back in the summer of 2019. The French international was previously linked with a move to north London in years gone but a move never materialised.
However, the Gunners are light in midfield, with Martin Odegaard the club’s only consistently creative no.10, leaving a spot open for Fekir in the unlikely chance that Betis would be willing to part ways with their mercurial man. Fekir enjoyed a stellar 2021/22 campaign, notching ten goals and ten assists across all competitions and is currently worth €30million-€40million (£25million-£34million), according to CIES Football Observatory.
Another Betis player who has previously been mooted as a potential Arsenal target is tough-tackling midfielder Rodriguez. The Argentine international has established himself as one of La Liga’s most consistent no.6s in recent times, averaging 2.19 blocks, 3.22 tackles and 1.94 interceptions per 90 minutes, as per fbref.
The former River plate star could add much-needed depth into Mikel Arteta’s midfield, lessening the burden on injury-prone Thomas Partey. Rodriguez, who is valued between €15million-€20million (£13million-£17million) by CIES Football Observatory, can comfortably play as a sitting midfielder in Arteta’s favoured 4-3-3 system, as well as a 4-2-3-1 pivot that the Spaniard has often utilised.
However, the 28-year-old has previously claimed that he is happy with Betis, admitting that he knew nothing of the Gunners’ alleged interest in him last year. “I saw it because friends from Argentina asked me, but I told them that I knew the same as them,” he told Spanish outlet Estadio Deportivo when asked about a potential move to the Emirates Stadium back in March of 2021.
“I am the protagonist because I am in the news but today, I do not know more or less than you who saw it. I am very happy [at Betis], I arrived and there was one or two months with a strange situation for everyone with the issue of confinement but the truth is that I am very happy in Seville, with the city, the weather, at the club… I’m very happy.”