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According to Metro, La Liga giants Atletico Madrid are making an effort to tempt Arsenal manager Unai Emery into selling right-back Hector Bellerin, with reports claiming that the Rojiblancos are prepared to offer 29-year-old versatile midfielder Vitolo as a part of a player-plus-cash deal.

Metro understands that Atletico manager Diego Simeone is keen to bring in a new right-back this summer and has identified Bellerin as a potential target, although it is believed that the Gunners are likely to demand a huge fee to part ways with the 24-year-old Spaniard.

As the story goes, Atletico are well aware of Arsenal’s massive valuation of the right-back and that is exactly the reason why they are prepared to use Vitolo as a makeweight to cope with the Gunners’ asking price for Bellerin. Vitolo, 29, is a player well-known to Unai Emery from his managerial days back at Sevilla in the La Liga, with the pair having won three UEFA Europa League titles working together.

Bellerin has been out of action since January with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and the 24-year-old is not expected to be fit right from the start of the upcoming campaign. The Spaniard played only 19 games in the Premier League this past season and his absence from the squad gave Emery some major headaches, with the Gunners lacking quality cover in that area of the pitch.

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As a matter of fact, Bellerin was one of the first names on Emery’s teamsheet in the Premier League before he was sidelined with an injury, with the manager rotating him between right-back and wing-back roles in back-four and back-three systems respectively.  

Having Bellerin in the team helps with the Over/under goals ratio that the Gunners score in the final third. When it comes to winning games, the little attacking threats that the defender provides could be much crucial to the game. There is a whole betting market out there based on the Over/under goals that the players end up scoring. If you are one of the punters out there and want to know what over under goals betting is there are a lot of websites and Youtube tutorials for the beginners.

The manager constantly rotated between both the systems in a bid to get the best out of his defenders but the long-term injury to Bellerin proved too difficult for Arsenal to deal with, as the Gunners endured a torrid time defensively and ended up conceding as many as 51 goals in the Premier League over the course of the previous campaign.

Having been slammed repeatedly last season for their lacklustre defensive performances, it is a no-brainer that the Gunners need to look at some fresh faces in the market in order to add more depth and quality to their backline. While a new centre-back to replace Shkodran Mustafi is believed to be high on the manager’s wishlist, Emery also needs to bring in replacements for Nacho Monreal at left-back and Aaron Ramsey in central midfield.

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To put things into perspective, Arsenal are likely to have to work under serious financial constraints this summer after missing out on Champions League qualification for the third successive season. The Gunners are expected to make defensive reinforcements a top priority this time around, and while they might also choose to improve their midfield and attack, one would hardly expect them to do so at the expense of one of their top existing defensive options.

In all honesty, Arsenal have no reason to be tempted by the prospect of bringing in Vitolo in a player-plus-cash exchange deal involving Hector Bellerin, who is the club’s undisputed first-choice right-back when fit and running. The Gunners are already faced with a defensive crisis and they cannot afford to lose any of their existing options at the back whatsoever, meaning that any sort of a swap deal involving Bellerin should be an absolute no-go for the North London giants.

Moreover, the likes of Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson are expected to depart the club this summer, and while their departure would still leave youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles as a decent option at right-back, one cannot help but feel that parting ways with Bellerin at this moment would be an absolute disaster for the Gunners.

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With all due respect to Vitolo’s well-rounded abilities and his versatility to play in multiple positions across the midfield, the Spaniard’s lack of involvement in the La Liga in recent seasons should be enough to put the Gunners off. The 29-year-old has started only 13 league games for Atletico over the past couple of campaigns and it is not surprising to see that the Rojiblancos are willing to get him off their books.

Vitolo might have played a key role under Emery at Sevilla in his younger days but he is clearly past his prime now, and very much at a stage in his career where his powers are going to start waning. Hence, he neither fits the profile of an immediate fix nor would he be a good long-term prospect for the Gunners at 29. Furthermore, Vitolo would hardly be a massive upgrade on any of Arsenal’s existing midfield or attacking options.

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Keeping that in mind, it is hard to see how a swap deal involving Vitolo and Bellerin could possibly benefit Arsenal and the Gunners would definitely commit a massive blunder by entertaining this kind of an approach from Atletico Madrid.

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