EPL Weekend Picks – Week 23


With the return of the English Premier League after a brief hiatus for FA Cup action, it’s now time to look ahead to this weekend’s fixtures and find 11 players worth keeping an eye on. Continue reading

Manchester City unlikely to give up in their pursuit for Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin

Hector Bellerin Arsenal

Manchester City made an approach for Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin this summer but saw their interest rebuffed by the Gunners. However, recent reports have suggested the Spanish defender is considering a switch from the Emirates Stadium to the Etihad which led to Arsenal issuing a hands-off warning to City’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain.

City are in desperate need of a right-back due to the dwindling form of their ageing defenders Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta. Sagna turns 34 next February and Zabaleta will turn 32 in January, and both players have struggled for consistency in the Premier League in the last 12 months. City manager Pep Guardiola needs a long-term replacement and Bellerin fits the bill perfectly.

The Sky Blues boss knows Bellerin from his time with former side Barcelona, and the talented 21-year-old would also fill a space on the homegrown quota. Coming off the back of an outstanding campaign that saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year, representing the Spain national team, while making the squad for Euro 2016, Bellerin’s stock couldn’t be higher at present.

As a result, his asking price will sky rocket, but City are willing to pay whatever it costs to get their man. Bellerin could be a long-serving defender like Zabaleta has been for the club, and reports are suggesting the youngster is open to a potential transfer. Arsenal have a rocky relationship with City with how many players they’ve lost to the Sky Blues in the past, but Bellerin would really hurt.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger developed the defender from an unknown teenager into the best right-back in the Premier League last season, so he won’t care what figures City could throw at the club for Bellerin. Various sources have suggested bids in excess of £40M would be required to enter contract talks, but the Gunners don’t need to sell.

They have a real need to hold on to the Spaniard due to how much Mathieu Debuchy has struggled since his move from Newcastle. The Frenchman spent the last season on loan with Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux and is up for sale this summer. Bellerin is first-choice in the backline for Arsenal, and has all the attributes that Guardiola loves in his fullbacks.

An attacking defender, boasting excessive pace, while creating numerous chances of the teammates. Bellerin has also improved defensively, averaging a tackle or interception every 26minutes. Manchester City are sure to make another approach this summer, but will they get their man?