The phrase “Barcelona DNA” is one which has haunted Arsenal fans for years.
It was repeated ad nauseam by a string of Barcelona players as they shameless tried to free Cesc Fàbregas from Arsenal’s clutches in the summer of 2010, Fàbregas of course having begun his career at Barça’s La Masia academy before moving to London as a 16 year old.
Fàbregas would finally get his move, albeit a year later, when he returned to the Camp Nou in a €34m deal in 2011.
Arsenal fans may have to get used to hearing this phrase all over again this summer, as they may have a fight on their hands to keep hold of right back Héctor Bellerín.
Reports from Spain and Italy emerged yesterday that Barcelona defender Dani Alves is set to leave the Camp Nou after eight years and join Serie A giants Juventus on a free transfer. The move, were it to transpire, would leave the Catalan giants worryingly short of defensive options, with Marc Bartra, Thomas Vermaelen and Douglas all set to leave the club, and Javier Mascherano being tipped to follow Dani Alves to Italy.
Bellerín began his career development – like Fàbregas – at La Masia, so it is only natural that his would be the first name mentioned as a replacement for Dani Alves.
The 21 year old has established himself as Arsenal’s first choice right back in the past 18 months, beating off competition from Mathieu Debuchy in the process, and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for the season just ended.
Ominously for Arsenal, the rumours have already started – no sooner was Dani Alves reportedly on his way out of Barcelona, the Spanish press were already touting Bellerín as his replacement.
Outlet Mundo Deportivo have claimed that Barcelona have already attempt to initiate contact the defender via his last coach at the club, Francisco Javier García Pimienta – it does, however, also claim that Bellerín is just one of a number of options that Barça are considering, with Sevilla’s Mariano also under consideration.
Naturally, some Arsenal fans are concerned about the reports…
Lads if Bellerin leaves for Barcelona we riot.
— 6’2 (@Mta_1991) May 25, 2016
Give us a RT if you think I should go to Barcelona with the mob to tell Enrique he ain’t signing Bellerin. #AFC
— On Me Head Son! ⚽ (@Danielfloyd1981) May 26, 2016
I’m shaking with rage, I will end Bellerin if he goes to Barca, my biggest agenda ever.
— Doble V (@PossessionStats) May 25, 2016
Whether or not Bellerín does end up at the Camp Nou this year, it promises to be a long summer of speculation for Arsenal fans to endure – not that they aren’t used to that by now.
The real worry, however, should come when the likes of Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets start namedropping the young defender and using the dreaded phrase “Barcelona DNA.”