Arsenal have indicated to interested parties, including Atletico Madrid, that they want $28 million (£20 million) for right-back Hector Bellerin, sources close to the club have told CBS Sports.
Bellerin is a leading target for Atletico as they look to replace Kieran Trippier, who is expected to return to the Premier League after two successful seasons in Spain. Manchester United are waiting in the wings for the England international and Bellerin is viewed by Diego Simeone’s side as a potential replacement to the attacking qualities Trippier brought to their title triumph this season.
Atletico are not alone in their interest for the 26-year-old with Real Betis having indicated that they would be keen on a move. However the Seville-based side, whose supporters include Bellerin’s father, would not be able to match Arsenal’s demands for a transfer fee and have previously indicated to the Gunners that only a loan move or free transfer is currently feasible.
Atletico’s move would be dependent on Trippier leaving the club, circumstances they would be reluctant to see happening with manager Diego Simeone a firm admirer of the “quality and precision” of the England international. However a move to Manchester United is reportedly intriguing for the 30-year-old, where he would offer a more attack-minded alternative to Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Should Trippier depart then Atleti would then look to Bellerin as a serious option to concede him and compete with Sime Vrsaljko for a starting spot.
Kieran Trippier in action for Atletico Madrid
CBS Sports first revealed Bellerin and Arsenal’s readiness to part ways in February with Paris Saint-Germain also monitoring him at the time. They have since moved on to Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi but there remain admirers on the market for Bellerin, who broke into the Gunners side as a teenager but has struggled with injuries in recent seasons. PSG had bid for the full-back last summer only to see their offer rejected with manager Mikel Arteta making a direct plea to Bellerin that convinced the vice captain to stay for another year.
However with Bellerin yet to recover his best form and with Arsenal looking to finance transfers elsewhere, both parties have come to an understanding that it is time to part ways. Whether his club will find the sort of fee that they are expecting in a market still dealing with the financial aftershocks of the coronavirus pandemic remains to be seen.
Arsenal hope to use the sale of first teamers including Bellerin, Granit Xhaka and Reiss Nelson (who has attracted interest from clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga) to fund the addition of players in several new positions including attacking midfield, central midfield and the right back position Bellerin is set to vacate. The likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock could also depart for the right price with the Gunners looking to trim a squad that will not be competing in Europe next season.
Martin Odegaard is their primary target for the attacking midfield berth after a largely successful loan spell in the second half of last season whilst Brighton’s Yves Bissouma is on their list of central midfielders of interest.