Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin is set to make a decision on his long-term future at the end of the season, reports suggest.
The Spain international is Arsenal (opens in new tab)’s longest-serving first-team player, having joined the club’s academy in 2011.
The right-back made his senior debut for the Gunners two years later and has since racked up close to 250 appearances for Arsenal.
However, he is now approaching a career crossroads that could see him seek pastures new in the summer, according to the Daily Mirror (opens in new tab).
Bellerin is under contract at the Emirates Stadium until 2023, and Arsenal could choose to cash in on him at the end of the campaign unless he signs a contract extension.
The Spaniard has a good relationship with his compatriot and manager, Mikel Arteta, and even likened him to a “big brother” during their playing days together.
But even that might not be enough to keep the ambitious Bellerin at Arsenal, with the club currently in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
“If you asked me that question a few years ago I’d probably say if he is the way he is it’s nice because we had a really strong relationship and I tried to help him as much as I could,” Arteta said when asked about Bellerin’s description of him.
“Now it’s a different relationship. Obviously, when you know the person and you know the professional, it’s easier to help them because you know how he feels, you know what he needs and how to get the best out of him.
“It’s true that this season he’s found much more consistency, he’s been available in many more matches and hopefully, he’s now forgotten the last two years when injuries meant he wasn’t able to play as much.”
While Arteta was complimentary of Bellerin, he refused to guarantee him a place in the starting XI.
Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares are both challenging the Spaniard for the right-back spot in Arsenal’s team.
“I think everybody has to compete with each other,” Arteta added. “I think Cedric has done really well.
“We’ve got Calum now that has been training really well in the last three to four weeks as well and looks completely ready to step in so everybody has to play at their best level and we’re going to have to rotate players as well with the amount of games that we have.”
Arsenal face Benfica (opens in new tab) in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.
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