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Spanish champions Barcelona have reportedly placed Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin at the top of their summer wishlist. The Spain international had been being closely watched by technical director Robert Fernandez during the Gunners’ 5-1 humbling at the hands of Bayern Munich in midweek.
Bellerin, a product of the famous La Masia academy, joined the Gunners youth setup alongside Jon Toral in the summer of 2011. While Toral has failed to hit the heights due to an injury setback in his early career, Bellerin has taken his opportunities with both hands, and he is now the first-choice right-back at the Emirates.
The 21-year-old inked a fresh six-and-a-half-year deal earlier in the season with the assurance that Arsene Wenger would be offered an extension beyond the campaign.
However, with the days rolling on, it appears that the Frenchman could end his 21-year reign at the north London this term, and this could, in turn, influence Bellerin’s decision to move elsewhere.
Former side Barcelona have held a keen interest in retaining their graduate over the past year, and according to AS via Metro, he has emerged as the prime target for the Catalan giants.
Club director Fernandez and scout Urbano Ortega were spotted keeping a close eye on the full-back in the Champions League defeat to Bayern, and they are said to be impressed with the player’s intent to move forward during certain periods of the game.
The report further states that discussions with the player’s agent have taken place and Bellerin is well aware that a bid is coming in the summer.
Bellerin currently has a contract with Arsenal until 2023, and this makes him an improbable target for Barcelona unless they are willing to cough up a club-record bid for the right-back.
The La Liga holders are still on the search for a specialist right-back who could take the position left by Dani Alves’ departure to Juventus last summer.
Premier League rivals Manchester City are also lining up an ambitious attempt to sign the youngster with Catalan tactician Pep Guardiola having gauged Bellerin’s potential at La Masia.