Barcelona have reportedly set their sights on a deal for Hector Bellerin, with a £45million bid being prepared before the end of the month.
Bellerin linked up with the Catalan club’s youth team as a nine-year-old, and spent eight years there before moving to Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Having shown signs of developing into a class act for Arsene Wenger’s outfit, he signed his first professional contract two years later before he was farmed out to Watford on loan in order to gain some first team experience.
The right fullback forced his way into the Gunners squad the following season, when he would make 28 appearances in all competitions. And he has pretty much been an automatic pick for Wenger ever since, having now played a total of 114 times for the capital club. But although he is under contract until 2022, he may well have kicked his last ball for the Premier League side.
According to The Independent, Barcelona are keen to lure Bellerin back to his place of birth and will make an offer of £45million for his signature before the end of June. The source also claims the defender is keen to return to the Camp Nou, especially as his family returned home recently although it is not thought that this had anything to do with a potential transfer.
“It’s great to know about the interest of Barca, the club where I grew up,” said Bellerin. “I’m an Arsenal player and we’ll see what happens. I know a lot of things are being talked about but as a player, the club haven’t told me anything. A lot can happen this summer. My family had to return to Barcelona. I have a tougher time now because I’m a family person. It’ll be a new challenge.”
In what is sure to be a busy summer of incomings and outgoings at the Emirates Stadium, much focus has been made of the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, both of whom have one year left on their contracts. Olivier Giroud has another two years left on his deal, but having struggled to nail down a first team start last season, the striker has hinted that his future may lie elsewhere.
“It is true that I have had limited playing time but it was for a certain amount of time, it is true there were things against me,” said the Frenchman. “I will not settle for another year with such little playing time. I will have to think carefully to consider it with my relatives and my advisers. It will be a decision that will be maturely thought about to have more playing time.”