Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger could be dealt a major blow in the coming months as reports suggest that key defender Hector Bellerin may be about to reject a contract extension offer in favour of a move north to Manchester City.
According to The Times, Bellerin has been offered a five-year deal to remain in London that would double his £50,000 per week salary. However, the report claims that sources close to the 21-year-old have revealed that despite the offer and also interest from his boyhood club Barcelona, Manchester City is his preferred choice.
The Spain international is understood to be eager to link up again with manager Pep Guardiola at the current Premier League leaders as they have previously worked together when both were at Barcelona before the defender left for Arsenal in 2011.
Since his move to London, Bellerin has established himself as a key member of Wenger’s defensive set-up and at only 21, is considered the future of the Gunners’ right-back position.
It is understood that Wenger has stepped up his desire to keep his young star at the club, with the five-year contract extension the result of interest from Barcelona and Manchester City.
If this news is anything to go by, however, it appears that it has already come too late as the allure to reunite with Guardiola may be too strong for the Spaniard.
This is not the kind of update that Arsenal fans will want to hear. Enjoying one of the best periods of football they have had in years, everything has been going exceptionally well for all concerned. Any news of potential departures may upset the rhythm at the Emirates, something neither fans or Wenger will want to see.
Meanwhile, it must be remembered that Bellerin still has three years left to go on his contract so any deal to pull him away for the club will likely cost tens of millions of pounds. This will be scant consolation, however, for fans looking to see Arsenal with the strongest squad possible.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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