Calum Chambers became Arsenal’s fourth Summer signing today after the club completed a deal for the talented Southampton right-back.
Chambers’ signing is likely to have significant repercussions for Carl Jenkinson, who is set to depart either permanently or on loan in the near future. The arrival of the England U19 captain will also have an impact on Hector Bellerin, who, until now, it had been assumed was being nurtured to be the club’s future first-choice right-back.
The landscape in that regard has now changed dramatically and, with Mathieu Debuchy having also been signed recently, Bellerin is unlikely to see much first-team action this season. The Spaniard has been relatively assured in his two pre-season outings to date, but it is likely that he will spend the majority of the 2014/15 campaign away from the club on loan, having previously gained valuable experience at Watford last season.
Impressive going forwards and also steadily improving in a defensive sense, it would be an immense shame if Arsenal were to barricade the progress of a player who has immense potential. Barcelona were heavily reluctant to lose Bellerin to North London three years ago, and he has developed very well since joining, so it seems unlikely that he will simply be cast by the wayside.
One possible solution could be for Bellerin to be deployed more regularly as a right-winger, a position in which he thrived during his formative years at La Masia. The 19 year old is a good crosser of the ball and also possesses a ferocious shot, which could aid his cause if he was re-converted to that role.
There have been suggestions that Chambers could alternatively play as a centre-back or in central-midfield, but he will initially go into the first-team squad as the second-choice right-back behind Debuchy.
One thing is for certain, the signing of Chambers has ensured that Bellerin’s previously obstacle-free route to the first-team has now become rather more challenging. Such is the determination of the latter, however, he will certainly not give up his chance of making the grade without putting up a considerable fight.