No matter who Inter signs as its newest right wing-back, he’s going to be a significant downgrade on Achraf Hakimi. The sooner we accept that disagreeable fact, the sooner we can look at who would specifically be a suitable candidate for the flank. With names like Davide Zappacosta, Nahuel Molina, Manuel Lazzari, and Emerson Royal thrown around, there’s no shortage of choices. In recent days, however, Hector Bellerin’s name has risen to the top of the rumor mix. The Arsenal fullback is on Inter’s radar according to the Italian media and La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Arsenal would even be open to loaning him to Inter with a €20 million option to buy.
Bellerin has been with Arsenal for almost a decade since he signed with the youth team from Barcelona as a sixteen year old in the 2011/12 season. He’s made 239 appearances and has 9 goals and 29 assists to his name with the Gunners’ first team but his time in London seems to winding down. Bellerin’s form has never recovered after an ACL tear in January 2019. He also lost out on a starting spot to Calum Chambers towards the tail end of last season and has a contract expiring in 2023. If Arsenal can’t offload him this summer or next, he’d be going into the final year of his contract, a situation the Gunners have said they don’t want to be in. Yet another point in favor of a Bellerin exit is Arsenal’s need of an overall squad rebuilding after an eight place finish in the 2020/21 campaign. Mikel Arteta has said the Gunners need to be “ruthless” as it clears out the roster and Bellerin is one of the likeliest to go.
Whether he ends up at Inter depends on if Arsenal is willing to accept a loan with option deal instead of an immediate permanent move. The Nerrazurri don’t have the cash to meet the €20 million asking price this summer. If Bellerin does leave on loan, it gives Inter another year to recover financially before making a long-term decision at right wing-back and a full season to see whether Bellerin is the real deal. The Spaniard is a natural right back in a four-man defense but has potential to adapt to Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2. Defending has never been Bellerin’s strong suit and switching to a back-three could minimize his weaknesses. But hoe he would adjust to Serie A in general and a new formation is a bit of a wildcard, so having Bellerin on only a loan would be especially important.
What do you think? Would you like to see someone other than Bellerin or is he the man for the job?