Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin reveals his thoughts on being linked with a return to Barcelona and his reasons for leaving the Catalan giants in 2011.
Speaking to Spanish publication SPORT, the 22-year-old revealed his thoughts on a possible return to Barcelona, where he took the first steps in his journey to becoming one of the best fullbacks in the world, before moving to Arsenal as a 16-year-old.
He insisted that it would feel ‘special’ if the Blaugrana were truly interested in his services. He said, “It’s nice there are a lot of big clubs that are interested in me, but if one of those is Barcelona, that’s special. I don’t forget I grew up in that home and I will never forget my stay at Barcelona.”
After moving to the Gunners in 2011, Bellerin spent his first two seasons with Arsenal’s youth sides before signing his first professional contract in 2013. He would make his debut for for Arsenal the same season, before being sent out on loan for 2 months to then Championship side Watford.
On being asked about why he left Catalonia, he reveals that his reason for the leaving the Spanish giants at such a young age was because he felt unimportant, saying “I left Barcelona because I felt the club was not confident in me, I didn’t feel valued, disenchanted.”
In the 2014/15 campaign, he would get to feature regularly for the Gunners due to injuries to other players and he would go on to make 28 appearances for them over the course of the season, including the full 90 minutes of a victorious FA Cup final.
His impressive performances over the course of that campaign, despite being so young ensured that he would end the season as their undisputed first choice right-back and also established him as one of the best young defenders in the world.
In the 2015/16 season he would make 44 appearances for Arsenal and help them to a second place finish in the Premier League, their highest in 9 years. He would be the only Arsenal player to be names in the PFA Team Of The Season.
The following summer, he would constantly be linked with a return to Barcelona with the Catalan giants reported to have set their sights on the 22-year-old as the heir to the legendary Dani Alves who had left for Juventus on a free transfer.
That move never materialised and Bellerin reaffirmed his loyalty to the English giants by signing a new contract in November last year, which will keep him at the Emirates until 2022. Barcelona never went on to purchase proper right-back available and they are now paying the price.
However, Barcelona haven’t seemed to have given up on Bellerin and are rumoured to have opened talks with Arsenal regarding a possible summer swoop for the speedster. Pep Guardiola is also said to be interested in his services as he looks to revamp the Manchester City roster.
With the futures of Arsene Wenger, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez surrounded by speculation, it remains to be seen if Bellerin chooses to leave the Emirates. He would be the ideal fit for Barcelona, as he is already familiar with the club’s philosophy.
But for now, Arsenal hold all power in negotiations given that he signed a long term deal, but given Barcelona’s desperation at this point, it should be interesting to see how much they are willing to continue this chase before eventually giving up, or getting their man .