Bellerin has become a key player for Arsenal.

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin is the natural successor to Dani Alves at Barcelona

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Many Barcelona greats have left the Camp Nou and one day, Dani Alves will join that list.

The Brazilian looked destined to leave the club in the summer of 2014 but was eventually persuaded to stay; after winning the treble the following season, he probably made the right decision.

Now 32, Alves will likely be linked with an exit once again, except this time it looks a little bit more plausible. Barcelona have endured relative struggles defensively this season and Alves' rampaging runs down the right certainly aren't helping.


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Manager Luis Enrique is reportedly in the market for a young, attacking full-back who's blessed with pace. Ring any bells?

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin has made huge strides since his first-team emergence around a year ago. His importance has grown to such an extent that Gunners fans were lamenting the youngster's injury earlier in the season, because it meant Arsene Wenger had to play Mathieu Debuchy at right-back.

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It speaks volumes about Bellerin's rapid improvement that he's so far ahead of the France international.

Considering the Spaniard's potential and Barcelona's eagerness to promote from within, it seems strange the Catalonians let him go when he was just a teenager. His fruition into maturity would have coincided with Alves' decline and they'd have a ready-made replacement.

Except Barcelona don't always do things the normal way. They've made a habit out of letting their young stars go before buying them back as established, world-class players; it's a strange transfer model but one that seems to be working.

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Barcelona appear keen to re-sign Bellerin as a result, but the feeling might not be mutual. Arsenal's starlet has settled into London life well and seems to be enjoying his time at the Emirates.

Much like all other young players to have made their breakthrough at Arsenal, Bellerin owes a lot of his progress to Wenger. The Arsenal manager has improved the 20-year-old as a player and showed faith in him when no one else did - if anyone deserves some loyalty coming the other way, it's Wenger.

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It seems unlikely that Bellerin will be open to a move back to Barcelona, but as we've seen before, ex-players often have a yearning to return. If Wenger is to build a successful Arsenal side, he'll be desperate to avoid another transfer saga like the one he endured with Cesc Fabregas.

If he manages to keep Bellerin, though, it would be a massive statement that Arsenal are no longer a selling club.

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