Hector Bellerin is set to hold exit talks with Arsenal in order to force through a move to childhood club FC Barcelona.
According to a report in Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, the 22-year-old will begin discussing a move away from the Emirates with the club’s hierarchy, once he returns from the European Championships with Spain’s U21 side from Poland next week.
The report goes on to state that Bellerin, who has 5 years left on his current Arsenal contract, is yet to discuss this with Arsene Wenger, but hopes that he and the rest of the club can understand his wish to return to Barcelona and let him go without any animosity.
Bellerin is said to be aware of the risk that Arsenal took with him while signing him as a 16-year-old and their contribution to his growth into one Europe’s finest fullbacks, but he hopes that Arsenal see that they could make a massive fortune from his sale and give in to his demands.
The Blaugrana have been in pursuit of Bellerin for the past year now, as they continue an ongoing hunt for Dani Alves’ replacement. Their failure to replace the Brazilian with another right-back made things extremely difficult for them, something they will look to avoid this season.
So it comes as no surprise that they have continued chasing Bellerin this summer. He was was born in Barcelona and came through their youth ranks before he was let go in 2011. The Blaugrana philosophy is a part of his upbringing and he would seamlessly fit into the current first team.
Earlier in March this year, while speaking about interest from other clubs, Bellerin 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.”
He went on to say: “I left Barcelona because I felt the club was not confident in me, I didn’t feel valued, disenchanted.” However, he must certainly feel important and valued now, given how much Barcelona have tried to bring him back since the past year.
If the Spaniard truly intends on moving away from Arsenal this summer, it will only further compound their problems. Key players like Sanchez, Ozil and Chamberlain are yet to sign contract extensions and are edging closer to a move away from the Emirates this summer.
Despite winning a record breaking FA Cup title, Arsenal failed to secure Champions League qualification for the first time in 2 decades, something that could contribute to the departures of some big names and when a club of Barcelona’s stature come calling, few are able to resist.
Bellerin wasn’t quite able to recreate or build upon his 2015/16 form last season, but the Gunners won’t allow that to reduce his price by too much. Arsenal hold the advantage with regard to negotiations due to the length of Bellerin’s contract and the fact that Barcelona have no fit right back in their squad and are in desperate need of a top class player to occupy that position.
The Gunners could use the money to further strengthen their squad or buy an adequate replacement as they prepare for life in the Europa League and they will certainly squeeze every last penny from Barcelona if they actually choose to sell him.