Hector Bellerin has insisted he isn’t thinking about leaving Arsenal, but that’s unlikely to stop Barcelona from making a move for the Spanish right-back if Dani Alves leaves the Camp Nou for China this summer.
This is according to The Sun, who understand the reigning European champions will turn to Bellerin if Alves leaves a year before his current deal is due to expire.
Bellerin, who turned 21 earlier this week, grew up in Barcelona’s famous academy but left for Arsenal in 2011, fearing his first-team opportunities would be limited at the Camp Nou.
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After two years in the Arsenal youth ranks, Bellerin made his debut in 2013. A year later and he had established his status as the Gunners’ first-choice right-back.
Arsenal fans have since feared that Bellerin will eventually follow in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas by returning to Barcelona at some stage later in his career.
Bellerin insists he wants to stay at Arsenal
Given that Bellerin is a Catalan, born and raised in the city of Barcelona, fans could be forgiven if they were genuinely concerned about the possibility of the defender secretly yearning for a return to the Camp Nou.
However, Bellerin insists his sole focus is on Arsenal and he isn’t thinking about a future move back to Barcelona.
"I left Barca without looking back,” he told Goal this week. “I left focused on London and Arsenal and I am really happy there. I signed a new deal last year and there's still a lot in front of me. It's a club that's forming a great team, with players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
"My future is there and I am happy where I am. A lot of things can happen in football, but I am at Arsenal, giving my all for the club. I am not thinking of going anywhere else."
But a Barcelona return could prove irresistible
Nevertheless, the chance to return to Barcelona and take over from Alves, playing alongside the ‘MSN’ and the rest of the stars in Luis Enrique’s side, could prove too tempting for Bellerin to turn down.
The Spain Under-21 international has the potential to become one of the world’s best right-backs and would walk into Barcelona’s starting line-up if Alves leaves at the end of the season.
Arsenal fans: are you worried that Hector Bellerin will join Barcelona this summer? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below.