The future of Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has become a topic of much conversation and speculation in recent weeks as news has emerged that both Barcelona and Manchester City are keen to lure the young defender away from the Emirates stadium.
The 21-year-old has become a key member of Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger’s back line since his arrival from the Barcelona youth academy in 2011. Firmly establishing himself in the starting XI last season, Bellerin has made the right-back position his own and is regarded as the future of the position long past the eventual departure of Wenger.
News last week emerged that Arsenal were keen to tie the Spain international to the London club with a five year contract, however it was suggested that Bellerin was set to reject this offer in favour of a potential move north to Manchester City to link up with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
Now, according to the Daily Star, via Spanish news outlet Marca, Barcelona have stepped up their interest in their former player by including his name on a shortlist to replace Aleix Vidal at the Camp Nou.
According to reports, the Catalan club’s director of sport, Robert Fernandez, has identified Bellerin as one of five potential options and given his history with the club, you might expect the Arsenal man to be the preferred option of the La Liga giants.
News of Barcelona’s continued interest in the Spaniard will surely be a headache for Wenger as he looks to preserve and further strengthen his defensive options. A strong start to the season has been predicated mainly on a towering defence this term.
The arrival of Schkodran Mustafi has offered Wenger increased choice at back and with news suggesting Per Mertesacker is open to a move away from the Emirates in January, the veteran manager will be keen to ensure that there are no further losses to his roster.
However, regardless of what the manager wants, it is becoming increasingly clear that Arsenal are in a fight with both Manchester City and Barcelona for the signature of one of Europe’s most promising young defenders.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena