Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has signed a new contract with the club, it has been confirmed.
The 20-year-old had a breakout season in north London last time round, making 17 Premier League starts and finding the back of the net twice as Arsenal secured third place.
Now he has been rewarded with a long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium, despite being regularly linked with a return to former club Barcelona.
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay3
An official statement on the Arsenal website read: "Arsenal is pleased to confirm that Hector Bellerin has signed a new long-term contract with the club."
It continued: "Everyone at the club looks forward to Hector’s continued progress with the club."
The 20-year-old joined Arsenal from Barcelona back in 2011 and has since represented Spain at Under-21 level.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted has been surprised with the speed of Bellerin's development, although insisted that he knew the young full-back was 'special' when he first saw him. The Frenchman told Arsenal player: “His progress has been huge because if you had asked me that question last year, exactly on the same day, I would not have guaranteed you that Bellerin would be a regular player in the club by the end of the season but he managed to do it.
“He’s a very serious, mature boy. I met him when he was 15... and I could see straight away that there was something special on the hunger side, on the desire and maturity side. He was a very mature boy very early."
Wenger will be delighted to keep the talented youngster from the clutches of Barcelona, who were reportedly keen on taking him back to Spain. However he insisted earlier this summer that he intended to stay in north London and now he has backed up that claim by signing his contract.
His next challenge will be wrestling the number one spot at right-back from French international Matheiu Debuchy, who suffered an injury-hit campaign last term.
Arsenal fans will be delighted that Bellerin has signed a new contract. He's not only one for the future but has shown that he is mature enough to cope with playing in the first team and Debuchy has one hell of a battle on his hands.
The Gunners are slowly but surely getting everything in its right place as they gear up for a title tilt in the new season, and it would be easy to understate what this deal means, especially with Barcelona lurking.