Exclusive: How Nelson Semedo unseated Hector Bellerin to join Barcelona

The doggedness of Wenger and the pull of Mendes helped sway the decision

Semedo has joined Barcelona for the next five seasons

Bellerín se quedó en el Arsenal
Bellerín se quedó en el Arsenal | AFP

Barcelona's right-back spot for 2017-18 was reserved for Hector Bellerin. The Catalan defender had nearly everything set to return to his former side and be one of the biggest deals of the market. It did not come to pass. Bellerin stayed at Arsenal and Nelson Semedo, from Benfica, took his spot.

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The Catalans' sporting department was in agreement over Bellerin, although beyond that the directors were concerned because of the elevated price they would have to pay for a player who left the cantera. The club were told by Arsenal that Bellerin's exit would not be negotiated. 

So they asked Hector and his agent, Albert Botines, to use his influence to persuade Arsene Wenger to let him go. Meanwhile Robert Fernandez lined up alternatives, including Nelson Semedo. 

Bellerin and his agent accepted the challenge of trying to open the exit door. During the U21 Euros, Bellerin told Wnger he wanted to chat to unblock the way out. There was not just one meeting, but TWO, in the same week. Arsenal did not budge and Barcelona did not dare yet to make the official first offer. 

Arsenal sent messages in which they expressed their anger at Barcelona's strategy, even suggesting they would report them to FIFA. Between this adversary, SPORT revealed the visit of Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira, along with Jorge Mendes, superagent. Raul Sanllehi had already started working on the basis of the club's contract with Semedo.

Barcelona tried to push for Bellerin once more, with Hector and his agent making anothr push, but Semedo was nearly accomplished, with Benfica accepting a sensible discount on the 50 million they initially wanted for the transfer. 

The patience of Nelson, the work of Mendes and Barcelona's complicity ended up solving the situation. Bellerin, despite his efforts, stays at Arsenal and Semedo is a Barcelona man.

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