Barcelona’s apparent interest in Hector Bellerin has been raging ever since Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique approached the Arsenal right-back following their Champions League encounter in February.
Despite sporting director Roberto Fernandez’s recent admission that Barcelona aren’t pursuing the defender, nobody would be surprised to see Bellerin make a return to the Camp Nou. Like Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie before him, Bellerin would boost his chances of winning silverware by leaving the Emirates Stadium.
But the manner in which Barcelona have targeted Bellerin has caused some uproar in the Spanish media.
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El Confidencial claim this morning that the La Liga champions have contacted Bellerin not just behind Arsenal’s back, but behind the back of his agent.
Now if that doesn’t infringe some football law, we don’t know what does.
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In fact, the paper references two articles in FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players: Article 17, paragraph 5, and Article 18, paragraph 3.
By directly contacting Bellerin, El Confidencial seemingly claim that Barca have infringed both laws.
This ‘tapping up’ process is also said to have happened with Athletic Bilbao’s highly-rated centre-back Aymeric Laporte. El Confidencial say that’s unnecessary because the conditions to buy the 22-year-old are pretty clear: pay his release clause or he’s going nowhere.
The rule book
Article 17, paragraph 5 of FIFA’s rule book reads: “Any person subject to the FIFA Statutes and regulations (club officials, players’ agents, players, etc.) who acts in a manner designed to induce a breach of contract between a professional and a club in order to facilitate the transfer of the player shall be sanctioned.”
Article 18, paragraph 3 adds: “A club intending to conclude a contract with a professional must inform the player’s current club in writing before entering into negotiations with him. A professional shall only be free to conclude a contract with another club if his contract with his present club has expired or is due to expire within six months. Any breach of this provision shall be subject to appropriate sanctions.”
Bellerin is with Barca players
Arsenal fans cannot take much pleasure from the fact that Bellerin is currently away with the Spanish national team, which is filled with Barcelona players, on Euro 2016 duty.
And it’s unlikely they are willing to accept Fernandez’s recent comments about Bellerin as being entirely true.
Barcelona’s sporting director said: “He is a magnificent player but it is not something that we will be pursuing,” per the Telegraph.
Aleix Vidal looks set to fill the role vacated by Dani Alves, who is joining Juventus, but Bellerin would certainly be a worthy competitor.