There's more bad news for Arsenal fans, as #Hector Bellerin is once again linked with #Barcelona. Bellerin is, of course, a product of Barcelona's renown youth academy, La Masia, that has produced many world-class football talents such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and Gerard Pique. The Spanish right-back was brought to the North London club in 2011 at the age of 16, and has become an integral part of the senior team today. In the 2014-15 season, Bellerin was brought into the first team to fill in for then first-choice right back, Mathieu Debuchy, who missed much of his debut season due to long-term injuries.
The Spaniard has not looked back since, and at only 22 years old Bellerin could still become one of the best right backs in the world. It was only a matter of time until Barcelona came knocking on #Arsenal's door.
Barcelona director confirms interest in Bellerin
Barcelona director, Robert Fernandez, has publicly confirmed his interest in Hector Bellerin. When asked about the 22-year old, Fernandez told Cadena SER: "It is a position that we are evaluating. There are many options and we will decide what we think is the best. If the market helps us, we will always try to improve, why not?"
Many Gooners will recall the departure of former Arsenal captain, Cesc Fabregas, who left Arsenal for the Catalan football club in 2011. Similar to Bellerin, Fabregas was also part of La Masia, and moved to the North London club during his teens only to return to Barcelona after becoming hot property under Arsene Wenger.
However, Fabregas wasn't the only the player who left Arsenal for Barcelona in the last decade with Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song, Aleksander Hleb, and most notably Thierry Henry also favoring a move to the Catalan football giants. If Hector Bellerin ends up returning to his hometown at the end of this season, Arsenal will have lost another vital first team player to Barcelona.
Bellerin responds to Barcelona interest
Hector Bellerin signed a contract extension in November 2016, keeping him at the Emirates until 2022. Furthermore, the speedy full-back declared that Arsenal is his home, and also made it clear that he intends to stay at the Emirates for many years. Speaking to Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Bellerin admitted that he was flattered by Barcelona's interest, though.
"Yes, any player is flattered by the interest of Barca, it's the best club in the world and that is very nice, the fact that I grew up in Barca's academy also gives me that extra bit of specialty, although I'm now focused on games and the season, the other will come later," Bellerin said..
The Spaniard further emphasized his loyalty to Arsene Wenger, and stated: "The loyalty to this person is worth more than money, it's something very important to me. That he's there carries a lot of weight for me."
With Wenger's future at the Emirates also uncertain, it remains to be seen whether Bellerin will still be an Arsenal player next season.