Barcelona are reportedly set to step up their summer pursuit of Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin after facing rejection in the pursuit of Nelson Semedo.
According to a report in The Sun, Barcelona have turned their attention back to Hector Bellerin over a move in the summer transfer window, after being priced out of a deal to sign Benfica defender Nelson Semedo.
Bellerin left Barcelona as a 16-year-old to join Arsenal’s youth setup, where he made giant strides, becoming a full-fledged regular in the senior side at the nascent age of 19. Since then, the player has developed impressively, with many regarding him to be one of the best right-backs in the Premier League.
However, much like Arsenal’s topsy turvy campaign in 2016/17, Bellerin endured an underwhelming season as well. So much so, that he was displaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right side of the Arsenal defence in the latter stages of the season as Wenger opted to go with a 3-4-2-1 formation.
In all, Bellerin played 42 times across all competitions for the North London side, with a miserly attacking return by his standards – 1 goal and 5 assists. However, despite not being at his best, the player continues to attract interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Manchester City have reportedly kept tabs on the 22-year-old but Barcelona remain the firm favourites to bring him back to Camp Nou in the summer transfer window.
However, as per the report, Barcelona have been priced out of a potential deal for the Portuguese defender, with Benfica slapping a £48 million price tag on his head.
Valverde has, thus, retrained his attention back to Bellerin, and is eager to sign the right-back this summer. Barcelona’s need for a right-back stems from the struggles of Aleix Vidal this past season, who failed to make the position their own while Sergi Roberto is seen more as a midfielder despite his heroics at right-back.
As a result, Bellerin is being eyed as a long-term solution on the right side of the Barcelona defence. However, the player is not forcing through a move back to Camp Nou, and having only penned a six-year contract with Arsenal earlier this season, the chances of a summer exit from the Emirates seem bleak.
It now remains to be seen if Barcelona can do anything to tempt the 22-year-old back to his boyhood club, or if they are forced to turn their attention elsewhere to seek reinforcement at right-back.