Arsenal identify Zeki Celik as possible replacement for Hector Bellerin


Lille right-back Zeki Celik has emerged as a top target for Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal have reportedly registered a strong interest in Zeki Celik and view the Lille star as a possible long-term replacement for Hector Bellerin.

Celik, 24, has established himself as one of the most consistent right-backs in French football since arriving from Istanbulspor back in 2018 and lifted his first piece of silverware this season as Lille beat Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title.

However, there is speculation the Turkey international could be set for the exit door at the Stade Pierre Mauroy this summer, with several top teams from around Europe monitoring his performances in recent months.

According to The Evening Standard, there are growing doubts Arsenal will be able to satisfy Bellerin’s wage demands for a new contract and the Spaniard is now ‘expected’ to leave which has forced the club to assess potential options on the transfer market.

Bellerin looks likely to leave Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Celik has been identified as a prime candidate to fill the void left by Bellerin should he move on after nine years in Arsenal’s first-team squad, with head coach Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu known to be admirers.

The Gunners have been impressed by the Turk’s confidence and ability going forward and believe his pressing game high up the pitch would be perfect for Arteta’s system.

The north London outfit will likely have to fend off strong competition to land Celik, though, as Premier League rivals Manchester United, Tottenham and Serie A winners Inter Milan are also keen on the highly-rated full-back.

Celik is tied into a deal at Lille until 2023 and the newly-crowned French champions value the defender at around €15million (£13m).

Arteta is intent on overhauling his squad this summer (Picture: Getty)

Champions League giants Juventus and PSG have been tentatively linked with Bellerin and Real Betis have emerged as a possible destination for the Arsenal right-back in recent weeks.

However, the La Liga club – who Bellerin has supported since childhood – distanced themselves from rumours suggesting they had opened talks over a deal for the Spain international last week.

‘We are not making, and I say this emphatically, an effort to sign the player,’ Betis’ general manager Federico Martinez Feria said.

‘However, he is among the positions we are looking for and is a player of a perfect fit for us.

‘He could be a candidate but we are not talking to Arsenal at the moment about Bellerin.’

He added: ‘The summer transfer window is notorious for there being lots of spurious news.

‘In general, if you analyse it all at the end, the percentage of it which comes true is small.’


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