Hector Bellerin is expected to sign a long-term contract with Arsenal after a surprise first-team breakthrough this season, reports The Mail.
The Spain youth international failed to impress whilst on loan at Watford last season and few Arsenal fans expected to see much of him when the current campaign began. However, Bellerin is now an established member of the first-team and Arsene Wenger wants his future tied down to the Emirates.
Bellerin's current contract does not expire until 2017, but he looks set to extend his stay in north London after arriving from Barcelona in 2011. It will be just reward for his impressive development over the past 12 months.
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A surprise emergence
With Carl Jenkinson already in the squad and Mathieu Debuchy arriving from Newcastle United, there seemed to be no place for Bellerin when the season started. When Jenkinson joined West Ham United on loan, Calum Chambers appeared to be understudy to Debuchy.
But Wenger sees Chambers as a future centre-back and the former Southampton star has struggled as a right-back at times this season. With Debuchy suffering two long-term injuries in quick succession, Bellerin was given a chance to impress and took it with both hands.
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The 19-year-old made his 17th appearance of the season against Manchester United on Monday and looks set to continue as first-choice right-back until Debuchy returns from a dislocated shoulder next month.
Bad news for Jenkinson
While Arsenal fans should be happy to see Bellerin commit his long-term future to the club, it is bad news for Jenkinson, who seems to have lost his place in the Arsenal team despite impressing whilst on loan with the Hammers.
Arsenal will listen to offers for the England international with West Ham believed to be keen to sign him on a permanent basis. Like Jenkinson, Bellerin is eligible for homegrown status and doesn't effect Arsenal's Premier League quota.
But Jenkinson's homegrown status gives him extra value in the transfer window with the Gunners confident of getting £10million. That would represent a significant profit for a man they signed for just £1m and would be good business for a man who never looked good enough for the highest level.
What do Arsenal fans think of this news? Is Hector Bellerin a future world-beater or is Arsene Wenger wrong to choose a Spaniard over a young English prospect like Jenkinson? Give us your views in the comments box below!
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