Real Betis general manager Federico Martinez Feria has categorically denied claims that the Spanish club are locked in talks with Arsenal to sign right-back Hector Bellerin.
Reports in the Mirror emerged on Thursday claiming that the defender had been identified as an ideal target for the La Liga outfit and that negotiations between the two clubs are ongoing.
Bellerin could be allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer if the right opportunity presents itself and the price is right, with the Gunners in need of offloading players before they can bring in new faces to strengthen Mikel Arteta’s squad.
As reported by football.london last month, the Gunners plan to make four players available for permanent exits this summer, as well as Bellerin if specific criteria are met.
Although several clubs are likely to display an interest in Bellerin this summer, with Barcelona, his former club, and French heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain having been reportedly interested, Betis, according to one of their most senior figures, are not in the running at this moment in time.
“It is notorious that in the summer preview there is a lot of news,” Feria said, as quoted by Muchodeporte. “In general, if you analyse at the end, the percentage of success is small.
“Bellerin’s case is that he is an excellent player. Arsenal, I understand, have his interests too, probably to place him [at the right club].
“We are not making, I say emphatically, an effort to bring the player [to Betis]. However, he is, why not, among the positions to cover and is a player of a perfect size for us.
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“It could be a candidate, but we are not talking to Arsenal at the moment about Bellerin.”
Should Bellerin leave Arsenal this summer it is almost a certain that Arteta would have to source a replacement, with Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares, who can both play in the role, not likely to be considered as regular starters in the Premier League next term.
But if Arteta is to strengthen other areas of the squad this summer, letting go of Bellerin may be the best decision for all parties, with the Spaniard keen to test himself elsewhere and the club far more likely to receive a respectable fee for him this summer than further down the line.