It seems inevitable that Hector Bellerin will become the next player who Arsenal will, regrettably, have to sell.
The Gunners have struggled over the past few years to retain their biggest stars, who seek pastures new at clubs with genuine Champions League ambitions.
Thierry Henry left for Barcelona in 2006. Cesc Fabregas did so five years later.
Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri became Premier League champions at Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.
Arsenal are one of the strongest teams in England - indeed, they harbour dreams of winning the title this season after finishing second in 2015-16 - but not even the most ardent Gooner would say they have much chance of winning Europe’s elite competition.
And so it’s not surprising that Arsenal fans began to fear the worst when Manchester City and Barcelona were linked with a move for Bellerin.
The 21-year-old has emerged as one of the best right-backs in Europe, with Brazil hero Cafu even admitting he sees a bit of himself in the Spaniard.
“Bellerin is much like me at 21,” Cafu said in a Twitter Q&A. “He is very fast and very impressive!! Big big future!”
Barcelona’s interest in Bellerin stems not only due to his talent, but because of Aleix Vidal’s current situation. Vidal joined in 2015 but has struggled for games, making just the solitary appearance in La Liga this season, leaving Barcelona unsure whether the 27-year-old has a future at the Camp Nou.
Bellerin started his career at La Masia before signing for Arsenal in 2011, and he could be ready to return. According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the right back’s camp is “waiting for the call” from Barcelona.
It might not happen
However, the Spanish champions are put off by Bellerin’s cost - believed to be between £30 million and £40m - and could move for Malaga’s Roberto Rosales instead.
Mundo Deportivo claim Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are the club that is most interested in signing Bellerin. The Spain U21 international wants to know whether Arsene Wenger will stay at the Emirates before making a decision.