So much needs sorting out at the Emirates. So, so much.
But to cut a long story short, Hector Bellerin is not one such issue. In fact, he’s very much part of the solution; one Mikel Arteta is in the early workings of solving.
It’s been an Arsenal career so far that has enjoyed considerable highs and lows. From the painful scenes at Selhurst Park where he, along with the rest of the side, was lambasted for a dreadful run of form, to the slightly more cheerful moments like starting the 2015 FA Cup final, Bellerin has seen it all.
Making his full Gunners debut in a 2-0 defeat away at Borussia Dortmund where he was run ragged throughout, the journey of the Spaniard to now becoming one of the more key figures in the dressing room has been anything but smooth.
But throughout that period Bellerin has shown admirable maturity and commitment. Being a vocal member both on and off the field, he has always been one of the players in the firing line when things have turned sour.
Now, though, under a new regime and at a time where the club finally appear to be on the up, his role in the positive aspects needs to heralded.
It is still early days, but the improvements throughout this Arsenal side since Arteta’s appointment are incomparable to his ill-fated predecessor. There appears to be a new sense purpose in the side, a clear plan of action and no more dreaded communication issues.
A cruciate ligament rupture meant he missed a large chunk of last season, a setback that carried over into the current campaign. Another injury, this time a hamstring problem, put him back in the treatment room, but since recovering he’s become a mainstay in Arteta’s starting lineup.
He’s played in all five of the most recent Premier League outings, captaining the side on one occasion and proving his credentials in that role with a last-minute equaliser away at Chelsea.
We’re all aware of his lightening quick pace, but it’s his standing within the club itself that makes him such a crucial cog in the Arteta rebuild.
As one of the longest-serving members of the squad, Bellerin’s role cannot be understated. He understands what it means to be involved with Arsenal, whether that’s on the pitch or in the terraces. Seven years in the capital has turned the defender into a propa Londonder, he speaks with a cockney accent, has expressed his love for the city and has Arsenal in his blood.
With Arsenal remaining the only unbeaten side in the Premier League this calendar year, progress is being made, and it appears as if Bellerin can see that. He’s always linked with a move away when the transfer windows come about, but the latest developments suggest they’ll once more remain as mere speculation.
There are some members of the Gunners’ squad that the rest of the team does need to be built around. Arsenal look as strong as they’ve been for sometime in the full-back department, with Kieran Tierney and Bellerin both boasting all the credentials that Arteta demands for players in those positions.
Elsewhere major surgery is needed, with deadwood needed to be shifted and reinforcements paramount in certain positions. Bellerin’s place in that side is safe, though, and the idea of selling him shouldn’t be entertained in any way.
He has experience of the club as a whole and his job in integrating new members of the squad (not that anyone else other than William Saliba will join) and connecting the fans to the team is pivotal as Arteta tries to steer the club clear of further disaster.
Very much an ‘Arsenal player’, the club needs characters like him to ensure that this journey back to a becoming a Champions League side is untroubled as possible. It’ll be bumpy regardless, but less so if Bellerin is helping to steer.
Those ready for the fight and strong enough to deal with being knocked back are the players that Arteta will be relying on during his maiden managerial venture, one where experienced heads will be just as much to use him as he is to them.
Bellerin fits that remit, and if he can stay injury free and recapture the form that earned him his Spain caps then he’ll be integral in the future of the club.
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