Hector Bellerin is closing in on a free move to FC Barcelona after Arsenal agreed to a free transfer, despite the deal seemingly being the second-choice option for both parties.

Hector Bellerin of Arsenal Arsenal v Slavia Prague, UEFA Europa League, Quarter Final, First Leg, Football, Emirates Stadium, London, UK - 08 Apr 2021. Copyright: Javier Garcia / BPI / Shutterstock
Hector Bellerin of Arsenal Arsenal v Slavia Prague, UEFA Europa League, Quarter Final, First Leg, Football, Emirates Stadium, London, UK – 08 Apr 2021. Copyright: Javier Garcia / BPI / Shutterstock

In a saga that seems to have plenty of twists and turns without actually arriving anywhere, Hector Bellerin is now set to join Barcelona again after Arsenal agreed to a free transfer.

It was initially reported as a contract cancellation by James Olley:

But David Ornstein has confirmed it is a free transfer, meaning Arsenal have likely got a sell-on clause and have learned their lesson after Aubameyang was sold to Chelsea for €14m just six months after Arsenal let him also leave for free for Barcelona.

Gerard Romero reported on Tuesday that Barcelona will sign Bellerin on a free transfer, with the deal now in the final stages.

Now, Gianluca di Marzio is reporting that deal is almost done:

Signing the Arsenal right-back instead of Villarreal’s Juan Foyth will leave Barcelona with more money to invest in Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva.

Bellerin seemingly wasn’t Barcelona’s first choice, with Javier Miguel reporting for AS last week that the club were prioritising a move for Foyth. But Foyth’s injury setback put that deal on the back-burner.

Similarly, previous reports suggested Bellerin’s preferred destination was a return to Real Betis, with Barcelona as an alternative.

Yet Alberto Pintado claims Bellerin’s camp have confirmed that a move to Betis is very difficult at this stage.

April 29, 2021: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal FC during the Europa League semifinal first leg football match played between Villarreal CF and Arsenal FC at Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal, Spain. Copyright: Gerard Franco
April 29, 2021: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal FC during the Europa League semifinal first leg football match played between Villarreal CF and Arsenal FC at Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal, Spain. Copyright: Gerard Franco

So, despite Barcelona ideally wanting Foyth, and Bellerin ideally wanting Betis, it seems both parties may end up with their second-choice option.

As for Arsenal, it will be more wages off the books, but it doesn’t look like the Gunners are likely to bring in a transfer fee.

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