Wantaway Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has reportedly asked the Gunners to terminate his contract as he pines for a return to Real Betis.
The 27-year-old slipped to third in Mikel Arteta‘s right-back ranks last season, with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cedric Soares preferred in the Gunners’ backline.
Tomiyasu’s early-season fitness woes have not presented Bellerin with a pathway back into the team either, as Ben White has started at right-back in Arsenal’s two opening wins against Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
Bellerin did travel with Arsenal for their pre-season tour of the USA, but the former Barcelona youngster has not made the squad for either Premier League game so far this season.
With only one year left to run on his contract, Bellerin is determined to secure a permanent move away from Arsenal and has earmarked Real Betis as his preferred destination after a strong loan spell last term.
According to the Daily Mail, Bellerin has informed Arsenal of his desire to have his £110k-a-week contract terminated to allow him to return to Betis on a free transfer.
Manuel Pellegrini‘s side have struggled to agree a fee with Arsenal due to their ongoing financial problems, which could see Bellerin become another high-profile player to see his contract terminated.
Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac have all departed in similar fashion, and Bellerin’s agent is understood to be working on a termination with Arsenal.
During his productive spell at Betis, Bellerin helped Los Verdiblancos win the Copa del Rey and ended the 2021-22 season with five assists to his name from 32 matches in all tournaments.
However, Pellegrini recently played down his side’s chances of making any new signings before the transfer deadline, telling Mundo Deportivo: “There is no expectation of further reinforcements. We would have liked to analyse it from a different point of view, but there is an economic situation that means we cannot do so.
“The objective is to keep the squad as strong as possible following the exits of Joel, [Cristian] Tello and now [Marc] Bartra. It allows us to replace them just like last year.
“The sporting criteria, the work of Antonio [Cordon, Sporting Director] and the arrival of important players for free has allowed us to maintain our footballing strength.”
Nevertheless, Bellerin is still holding out hope of a switch back to Spain, which would see him end his time at Arsenal 11 years after joining from Barcelona’s youth academy.
The defender has amassed nine goals and 29 assists in 239 appearances for the Gunners in that time, winning three FA Cups and three Community Shields in the process.
Betis could face late competition for Bellerin’s signature, though, as La Liga rivals Barcelona have supposedly been offered the chance to re-sign their former youngster.
La Blaugrana tried and failed to prise Cesar Azpilicueta away from Chelsea and are said to be in the market for a new right-back before the summer window closes for business.