Arsenal: Defender close to new contract; Giroud on lack of starts; Dortmund-star bid rumours
A feature of Arsenal’s AGM last month was Ivan Gazidis’ insistence that the club are working to tie down key players on fresh contracts, and it seems their labours are bearing fruit already. News emerged yesterday from various media outlets that young right back Hector Bellerin is close to signing a long-term extension. The Spaniard’s current deal runs out in 2018 and there were reports linking him with a move back to Barcelona or Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Arsenal are negotiating with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil over new deals, and sometimes these things can gather momentum; once one player commits the others tend to follow. Bellerin is one of the best young full backs in Europe, so a new deal would be great news for Arsenal fans.
The 21-year-old established himself as a first-team regular during the 2014-15 season when the unfortunate Mathieu Debuchy was struck down with ankle ligament damage and a dislocated shoulder during his first season at the Emirates. However, there has been nothing fortuitous about Bellerin’s progress since. His prodigious speed will always attract attention, and pace always gives a defender a little more margin for error. However, he has developed into a very consistent defender who is rarely beaten in one against one situations. This season he has established a superb understanding with Theo Walcott on the right flank, and his new wage will reflect his importance to this Arsenal team.
Elsewhere, Olivier Giroud has spoken about his desire to keep fighting for his place at Arsenal, despite having to content himself with a place on the bench this season. Arsene Wenger has opted for the more mobile and unpredictable Alexis Sanchez up top this term; despite a frustrating draw against Spurs on Sunday, this has been a key factor in revitalising Arsenal’s forward line. The former Montpellier striker showcased his credentials as the perfect ‘Plan B’ when he scored a brace at Sunderland from the bench. Ironically, this fine display only served to prove that he is the ideal substitute. In a very honest assessment, Giroud said:
“Yes it’s possible (it is the beginning of the most difficult season).
“When I look from the stands at Arsenal, the team plays well and made a very good start to the championship, I tell myself that the train leaves without me and that I must not get too far behind.”
Finally, agent Vincenzo Morabito has told Italian station Radio CRC that Arsenal saw an £80 million bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Borussia Dortmund striker is exactly the type of forward Wenger would crave, with exceptional pace combined with sound technique and finishing ability. There have been noises around this deal for a few years, but whether a formal bid was made seems doubtful. Clubs don’t usually bid blind for players because it runs the risk of being made to look rather silly in public. If there was little to no chance of him joining, it would be odd if Arsenal sanctioned a bid of that size.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal