It was a case of new haircut, new boots for Hector Bellerin this week, as the Spaniard returned to training at the Arsenal training ground in the Future Lab Mercurial Vapor XIII. Not a totally new silo for the right back, but could it indicate a potential switch to the Swoosh, and what would that mean for both brand and player?

Gone are Bellerin’s flowing locks, replaced instead by that signature lockdown buzzcut. And gone also is any sign of an adidas or PUMA boot on the right back’s feet, the latter has been missing in action since Bellerin’s contract ended with them back in November last year while the former had replaced them for a short time, in training at least. Indeed, he had been enjoying the freedom of not being tied down to a contract, switching between brands as he pleased. Following a brief dabble in the adidas X 99.1 and the Predator Mania 19.1, the Spaniard switched into the Nike Mercurial Vapor XIII from the 'Terra Pack’ for the Gunners’ shock loss to Olympiacos in the Europa League back in March. And that's where we left off, but the return has seen him seemingly sticking with Nike.

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So is his appearance post lockdown in the Future Lab Merc an indication of a deal on the horizon, and if so what would be the benefits to both the player and the brand? Nike would surely jump at the opportunity to boast Bellerin’s unrivalled levels of drip; tapped into the fashion world like no one else on the British football scene right now, he’s a footballer that breaks stereotypes and pushes boundaries. Whether he's marauding down the wing or sat front row at London Fashion Week elevating his reputation in lifestyle circles, Bellerín curates his own image, and that places him in a very unique position as an ambassador for any brand. Sure Nike already boast some of the world’s biggest global footballing superstars in Ronaldo, Neymar and Mbappe, but there’s a very specific Bellerin shaped hole in their roster. He offers a completely alternative option that would open appeal to a whole new audience.


As for Bellerin, away from the pitch he has turned his eye for style into a keen passion for fashion in the nine years since he moved to London, and Nike present a perfect option for unrivalled projects in that field. It opens the door to several subsidiaries for a start; Jordan, a brand that itself holds significant weight in numerous walks, with its influence spilling far from the court in recent years, not least the footballing world, and Converse, a label that Bellerin is only too happy to be associated with, having been seen wearing their sneakers over the years. And subsidiaries aside, the prospect of being able to dip into and create from the Swoosh’s vast heritage and back catalogue would surely have Bellerin drooling. It’s a playground you imagine he would find it hard to turn down.

But – and there’s always a but – one of the likely reasons that Bellerin hasn’t been in any kind of a rush to sign into a contract following the expiration of his deal with PUMA is that he’s probably enjoying the freedom that comes with not being tied down. His is a creative spirit, and any deal will inevitably come with prerequisites and restrictions about what he wears and when. Unless those hurdles can be overcome as part of any negotiations, don’t expect to see Heccy B signing for anyone just yet.


Nike could well be a good fit for Bellerin, but part of us loves seeing him as a rogue agent; an untamed spirit free to dress as he pleases, for therein lies the inimitable style of the man.