The Inter winger has been linked with a move to the Emirates this summer and has a huge supporter in former Gunners defender Bacary Sagna.
And Sagna, who played 284 times for Arsenal between 2007 and 2014 before joining Manchester City, has been impressed by Hakimi’s progress after first seeing him play for Real Madrid a few years ago.
WHAT WAS THE POINT?
On the right-hand side situation at Arsenal, Sagna said only in his talk to Goal: “I’m sure that they evaluate the situation very correctly and [if Bellerin leaves], they have already someone in mind.
He always goes on. “Hakimi is never exhausted. He is so fast. He is so fast.
“Because he wasn’t that nice to us, I was shocked when I saw him playing in Madrid. The potential may be shown, but I never expect it to do as it is now.”
WHY IS HAKIMI ON THE RUN?
The Moroccan international made an immense impact during his two seasons on loan from Real Madrid at Borussia Dortmund between 2018 and 2020.
During his time in Germany, he appeared in 73 games across all competitions, scoring 12 goals and assisting on 17 others.
That form prompted Inter to sign him last summer in a deal worth an initial €40 million (£35 million/$47 million), and the 22-year-old has gone on to contribute six goals and five assists in his debut season in Italy.
IS THERE A NEED FOR A RIGHT-BACK AT ARSENAL?
Hector Bellerin has spent the last ten years in north London since joining from Barcelona as a 16-year-old, and there are reports that he is vulnerable to leaving at the end of the season.
“And, close to how I felt, he may feel the urge to test himself because he has been there for a long time.
“Hector has been there for years,” the Frenchman explained. “He started playing shortly after I left, so he’s been with the team for about six years.
And Sagna says he wouldn’t be disappointed if the Spaniard has agreed it’s time for a move.
“AS A PLAYER, IT’S PRETTY TRICKY. HECTOR’S STILL YOUNG, HE IS STILL FIVE YEARS YOUNG AND HE CAN PLAY IT AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. SO, I’D NOT BE DISAPPOINTED IF HE LEFT NOW.”
“Arsenal was my club and still my favourite club, but I felt after 7 years, that even though I didn’t warrant playing, I would have played, because I was in the building.
DIFFICULTIES WITH INJURY
Bellerin’s form after returning from a cruciate ligament injury suffered in January 2019 has been a point of contention for Arsenal supporters.
The 26-year-old has received a lot of flak for his results this season, and he has seen Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers start ahead of him in recent weeks.
Sagna, on the other hand, praised the defender.
“TO HAVE A CROSSBOW (INJURY), IT’S NEVER EASY TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE BEST OF YOURS. HE’S RETURNING TO HIS BEST RIGHT NOW, HOWEVER, TIME IS NEEDED.”
“I want to award Hector credit no matter what,” the Frenchman said. “He has faced a great deal of scrutiny. He was one of the brightest, but he had a major injury, which I believe people overlook.