Mikel Arteta breaks silence on Hector Bellerin’s decision to leave Arsenal

Hector Bellerin has joined Real Betis on a season long loan from Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has revealed Hector Bellerin left Arsenal with his full blessing but admits he will be missed by everybody at the club.

The Spain international has spent his entire professional career with Arsenal after leaving Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy as a teenager in pursuit of regular first team football.

Bellerin quickly broke through the ranks and after being handed his opportunity by Arsene Wenger, quickly established himself as the club’s first choice right-back, winning the FA Cup twice alongside his current manager Arteta.

Mikel Arteta and Hector Bellerin were teammates together at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

A cruciate knee ligament injury he sustained back in January 2019 curtailed Bellerin’s progress under Wenger’s successor Unai Emery, and he has struggled to regain the form which marked him out as one of the Premier League’s best attacking full-backs.

Having lost his first team spot at the end of last season, Bellerin pushed to leave Arsenal during the transfer window and eventually joined Real Betis on loan until the end of the season on deadline day.

Reflecting on Bellerin’s decision to depart, Arteta said: ‘He’s been a really important part of everything that happened at Arsenal in the last 10 years. He’s an exceptional player and incredible player, & he will be missed.

‘He’s loved by everybody at the club. He needed a new challenge so we decided to let him go.’

Arsenal effectively signed Takehiro Tomiyasu as Bellerin’s replacement from Bologna during a frantic final day of the window, but the Japan is still awaiting his Visa ahead of his potential debut against Norwich on Saturday.

Arteta added: ‘We need a work permit first. The club is working hard to try and achieve that in the next couple of hours.

‘Tomiyasu has the ability to play anywhere in a back four. He gives us different qualities in that right back position. He brings qualities that we didn’t have in the squad.’

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