News emerged yesterday that Barcelona were reportedly looking to make an audacious bid for Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin in January. Further reports overnight now suggest there could well be truth to that rumour.
The Spain international has become an integral part of Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger’s side since he first burst into the starting XI during the 2014/15 season. The former Barcelona academy player left for the Premier League side in 2011 as a 16-year-old and has grown into one the League’s top defenders under the Frenchman.
Part of the PFA Team of the Season last term, reports from Spain yesterday hinted at Barcelona’s interest in Bellerin over the summer. This has now been followed up with confirmation that the 21-year-old has captured the attention of his former club as they look to replace the recently departed Dani Alves.
According to the IBTimes, via Spanish news outlet Sport, Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre believes it is the ‘Barcelona DNA’ that Bellerin possesses that will see him return to the famous Camp Nou.
“We’ve already seen him as a Cule [Barcelona follower]. He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about that. Wenger convinced him to move and promised him something which we couldn’t. We could not promise him that within two years he would be playing in Dani Alves’ place.”
Mestre went on to suggest it is good that young Barca players leave to get game time, only to return as better, more experienced players,
“In many cases it’s good that they leave to develop as players and then return [with that experience]. Look at the cases of Cesc, [Gerard] Pique, [Jordi] Alba and Denis Suarez… I hope the same thing will happen with [Sergi] Samper too. It’s positive that [these players] get minutes at other clubs. It is a dynamic which has always provided good results for players that carry the Barca DNA in their blood.”
The departure of Alves for Juventus now means that the path is clear for Bellerin to return and take his place in the Barca starting XI. Luring him away from the Emirates will not be an easy task, however, as under Wenger’s guidance, the right-back has become a full international and has cemented his place in Arsenal’s squad.
It would appear that it will now come down to just how strong that ‘Barcelaon DNA’ is and if it can be the deciding factor that Barcelona VP, Mestre hopes.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena