Hector Bellerin Real Betis

Bellerin's Arsenal future: What's next for Gunners loan star after Real Betis cup glory?

Real Betis ended 17 years of hurt when they beat Valencia on penalties in the final of the Copa del Rey last month to lift their first piece of silverware since 2005.

It was a moment that fans from the green half of Seville had fantasised about for a long time, with emotional scenes sweeping the city in the aftermath of the penalty shootout success.

And for Hector Bellerin, it was the stuff of dreams.

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When he made his loan move to Los Verdiblancos last summer, the Arsenal defender stated he wanted to win trophies with his boyhood club.

And now, just eight months on, he has done exactly that.

It was a cup win that brought silverware back to the Benito Villamarin Stadium, and it has also guaranteed that Betis will be playing European football once again next season.

So what now for Bellerin?

The Spaniard still has a year left on his contract with Arsenal, and when Mikel Arteta was asked about the full-back last week he did not entirely rule out a return.

"Any player with a contractual obligation with us, both ways, is our player and is considered our player," the Gunners boss said. 

"Every plan considers that possibility (Bellerin staying) exists and how they can fit into our team."

But despite Arteta’s comments, a return for Bellerin is now extremely unlikely.

After a difficult few years in north London following the cruciate ligament injury he suffered against Chelsea in 2019, Bellerin has found a new lease of life with Betis.

Sources close to the 27-year-old speak of a player who has found his love for the game again after some tough times with Arsenal - on and off the pitch.

Bellerin was unhappy during his final season at Arsenal, and fter a decade in London and in the Premier League, he wanted to return to Spain.

His decision was not related to the Gunners at all and he made that clear during talks with Arteta. It was just that he felt he needed a change after such a long time in England.

“I was lucky that Mikel is someone who is very understanding,” Bellerin explained to Gunners legend Ian Wright during a recent appearance on the 'Wrighty’s House' podcast.

“Mikel knew it was nothing to do with football or the club.

“I was very happy that Arsenal gave me the opportunity to let me find what I was looking for. You could see at that time it wasn’t working for any of us.

“It was clear in my head what I needed and I’m happy that it’s fulfilling itself. I’m happy.”

Hector Bellerin

Bellerin has now made 31 appearances in all competitions for Betis this season, contributing five assists - with the latest coming in the Copa del Rey final when his pinpoint cross was headed home by Borja Iglesias.

He has an excellent relationship with manager Manuel Pellegrini and is enjoying his football again.

And while Arteta did not totally rule out the possibility of the full-back returning to the Emirates Stadium next season, that remains highly unlikely.

Betis have made it clear to the player that they want to make his move permanent in the summer and the Spanish club believe they will have then finances to make the deal possible.

Bellerin will have to agree to a reduction from the £110,000-a-week wages he has been on at Arsenal since signing his last contract in 2016, but that is not expected to be a problem.

He took a cut in pay to push through his loan move last summer, and it is likely he will do so again when official negotiations begin at the end of the season, such is his desire to seal a permanent move back to his homeland.

Bellerin Arsenal quote

“There’s no hard feelings for me,” Bellerin told Wright, while discussing how things ended for him with the Gunners.

“Arsenal are doing amazing and that makes me so happy. The player [Takehiro Tomiyasu] they got in my position is doing great. 

“I watch every single game and I want the guys to do well. It’s worked out for everyone and that’s what shows me it [leaving] was the right thing to do.”

So far there have been no talks between Arsenal and Betis about a permanent transfer, but they will soon begin - with the Spanish side waiting for the season to finish before opening discussions.

And they are confident they will get a deal done at a favourable price thanks to the defender’s contract situation and his strong relationship with Arteta.

After some difficult times Bellerin has found himself again during his time back in Spain, and in a few months it is now highly likely that his 12-year stay with Arsenal will officially come to an end.