La Liga leaders Barcelona are monitoring the progress of Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin as they seek a long-term replacement for Dani Alves, the Daily Star reports.
The 20-year-old came through the youth ranks at the Catalans’ famous La Masia before turning his back on the club to join the Gunners on a Cesc Fabregas-type youth deal in 2011.
The young Spaniard was only thought of as a talented prospect before this season, but following an apparent injury crisis he has gone on to make a number of first-team appearances.
Barca are in the midst of a transfer ban at present, yet with plans to launch another appeal the La Liga giants have allegedly pinpointed the right-back area as a priority owing to Dani Alves’ likely summer exit.
“Barcelona are keeping tabs on emerging Arsenal starlet Hector Bellerin. Barca's interest is urgent because right-back Dani Alves, 31, looks set to leave on a free transfer with Manchester United said to be keen on his services,” the Daily Star reports.
Hector Bellerin ready for a move to the Nou Camp?
While Bellerin’s breakthrough campaign has been impressive, there are question marks over his attacking ability and likely involvement once the Gunners are back to full strength.
Fellow defenders Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers are undoubtedly ahead of him in the right-back pecking order, and unless he suddenly improves drastically that isn’t likely to change.
Still, he is a promising young player and a long-term solution for Arsene Wenger, certainly not a player the Frenchman would be happy to see return to the Nou Camp.
Luis Enrique’s Barcelona will need a new right-back for the long-term, but right now they have a number of options such as Martin Montoya, Adriano and even Marc Bartra who can cover out wide.
Aside from their current transfer ban, a Dani Alves replacement would have to fit a certain type and in the main have similar attributes to the Brazilian who has been such a success at the club.
Bellerin, for all his strengths, isn’t that player and any paper talk linking him back to Barcelona ultimately stems from his ties to the club rather than an underlying need to acquire him.