Arsenal have been forced to fight off surprise interest in talented young full-back Hector Bellerin this week, with Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen in touch to register their interest in signing the Spanish starlet.
Bellerin has burst onto the scene from relative obscurity at Arsenal this season, taking advantage of an injury crisis at the Emirates to show he's got what it takes to play for the first team consistently in the very near future.
The 19-year-old suddenly has options beyond continuing his development at London Colney though, with German publication Kicker reporting that Leverkusen are still very keen to sign the Barcelona academy graduate despite having an initial enquiry knocked back by Arsenal.
Contract talks may be required
Leverkusen have been scouring the market for a new right-back for some time and believe Bellerin may fit the bill, hoping to take advantage of the Gunners youngster's contract situation.
Bellerin's current deal at Arsenal expires in 2016, which means next summer could prove pivotal for Wenger in terms of securing the future of a player he clearly rates very highly. Arsenal remain extremely confident of keeping one of their brightest prospects, but sudden interest from Leverkusen has come as a something of a bolt from the blue.
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The next Carvajal?
Bayer have clearly seen enough raw potential in Bellerin to think he could join the club and improve very quickly, in much the same way that they developed Dani Carvajal.
The Real Madrid star signed for Leverkusen in 2012 and shone in a terrific debut season in the Bundesliga, which saw him quickly recalled by Los Blancos under the terms of an agreement between the two clubs.
Arsenal are now facing a fight to stop Leverkusen doing the same with Bellerin, although with Wenger's squad stretched to the limit its extremely unlikely he'd be allowed to leave, even on loan.
Wenger prides himself on bringing through talent himself and has taken something of a punt on Bellerin, turning a pacy, energetic winger into a full-back so his best attributes can be realised fully.
Bellerin has become worryingly important for the Gunners in the past fortnight, so expect Wenger to stubbornly reject any Bundesliga advances and look to get the teenager signed to a long-term contract at the earliest possible opportunity.
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