Damning manager assessment behind aborted Arsenal, Barcelona transfer

Date published: Wednesday 1st September 2021 3:57 - Steve Pearson

Antoine Griezmann in Barcelona training with Ronald Koeman

The reason behind a switch between Arsenal and Barcelona being aborted on transfer deadline day has been revealed.

The Gunners were unafraid to splash the cash this summer. Six new faces arrived on permanent deals to the tune of around £144m. To help balance the books to some degree, a series of exits in both permanent and loan forms were also sanctioned.

One player who belatedly left the Emirates after speculation spanning several months was Hector Bellerin.

The Spanish right-back, 26, left for Real Betis on loan, though a recent report has revealed his destination could’ve been very different.

Sport Witness (citing Spanish outlet Sport) claim negotiations between Barcelona and Arsenal regarding Bellerin were ‘well advanced’ on Tuesday.

The La Liga powerhouse were on the lookout for a replacement for Emerson Royal. The Brazilian had been heavily linked with Tottenham and duly completed a £25.7m move on Tuesday evening.

However, Barcelona abandoned their pursuit of Bellerin, leaving the door ajar for Betis to swoop.

Citing today’s edition of Sport, the Sport Witness article claims the main reason why Bellerin’s potential return to boyhood club Barcelona fell through was down to Ronald Koeman.

Hector Bellerin taking a picture, Arsenal

The Dutch manager was reportedly unconvinced by Bellerin. Instead, he opted to channel their limited resources on acquiring a centre-forward. Sevilla’s Luuk De Jong was ultimately signed on loan after Antoine Griezmann returned to Atletico Madrid.

The article concludes that Barcelona personally called Bellerin to tell him the move was off owing to Koeman’s stance.


Who won the transfer window? Aston Villa? Man Utd? Daniel Levy?…


Merson savages Arsenal hierarchy despite bumper window

Meanwhile, Edu’s transfer efforts at Arsenal have been ripped to shreds by Paul Merson, who claims he could do a better job than the Gunners technical director.

The Gunners were summer 2021’s biggest spenders in the Premier League, investing an estimated £144m on new talent. They brought in the likes of Martin Odegaard, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale for hefty fees. They then finished deadline day off by securing the signing of Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna.

Nonetheless, Merson has slated Edu and director of football Richard Garlick for their business this summer. And he reckons he’d have done a better job than the pair of them, even while combining his Soccer Saturday duties.

“Tell you what I’d do a better job,” he said about Arsenal, when speaking on Sky Sports. I’ll tell you now, I could do both (Soccer Saturday and be a Director of Football), if you’re successful you play on Sundays.

“When you spend that kind of money, these players have to perform. I think their season starts when they start when they come back from the international break. The fixtures coming up are winnable games, or they will have to win them there’s no doubt about that.”

Merson then revealed at which point in the season Arsenal will make a sack decision on Arteta – if their fortunes haven’t improved

READ MORE: Granit Xhaka makes ‘lucky’ claim over Arsenal contract after summer U-turn

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