Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin insists he did not even consider a return to Barcelona or joining Manchester City before agreeing a lengthy new contract with the Gunners, which was confirmed today.
Barca and City are both thought to have shown interest in luring Bellerin but the 21-year-old has indicated he is staying in north London by signing a deal believed to be worth £100,000 until summer 2023.
“I wasn’t thinking about anything else other than staying here and continuing my development here. This is where I’m happy. I’m just very grateful and pleased to have signed,” he said.
“I’m really, really happy and this club is my home right now. I’ve been here for more than five years so I was really, really excited when the club told me that they wanted to extend my contract.”
The new contract is recognition of Bellerin’s emergence as a key figure at Arsenal since making his first-team debut for Arsene Wenger’s side three years ago.
He established himself as a regular early in the 2014-15 campaign and last season made 44 appearances, contributing nine assists with frequent forays down the right flank.
Bellerin, whose progress saw him earn his first senior international caps for Spain this year, arrived in England in 2011, aged 16, after eight years with hometown club Barcelona.
Current City boss Pep Guardiola led Barcelona to every major honour during Bellerin’s time at the club’s academy, but the youngster left before getting near the first team.
Arsenal’s next concern is tying down playmaker Mesut Ozil and forward Alexis Sanchez to new contracts.
Both have less than two years left on their current deals, meaning the club could be forced to sell next summer if they refuse to sign new terms.