X

Arsenal Transfer News: Hector Bellerin Eyes Barcelona Amid Arsene Wenger Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal runs with the ball during the Champions League match between Arsenal and FC Basel at The Emirates Stadium on September 28, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images)
Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin is reportedly "waiting for the call" from Barcelona, and his future at the Gunners could hinge on whether manager Arsene Wenger remains at the club. 

According to Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness), reports of Aleix Vidal's potential January departure from Barca have sparked fresh links to the Blaugrana for Bellerin to fill the right-back role, although the Spanish giants are put off by his price tag. 

The report added that the 21-year-old Bellerin—who came through Barca's famed La Masia academy before moving to Arsenal in 2011—wants assurances about Wenger's future, and he could be open to a move back to the Camp Nou.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (R) and Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin give a press conference on the eve of the team's UEFA Champions League football match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), on September 12, 2016 at the Parc des Prince
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Wenger, 66, has just passed his 20-year anniversary as Arsenal manager and has been reported as a key target of the Football Association to take the England job when his Gunners deal expires at the end of the season, per Matt Law in the Telegraph.

The Frenchman's departure from Arsenal would change the landscape at the Emirates Stadium hugely, and one potential upshot could be Bellerin wanting to depart.

Per Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe, the Spain international was one of Arsenal's best players in 2015-16 and has continued his excellent form into the new campaign:

Bellerin said, amid other Barcelona links back in May, that he was happy at Arsenal, per Mundo Deportivo (h/t MailOnline's Phil Costa): "I say every year that England is my home now. I've lived there for many years; my family and my girlfriend are there. I'm very happy so I don't see myself anywhere other than at Arsenal."

However, links with a move away from north London have persisted, with recent reports indicating that Bellerin would be open to joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City next summer, per Paul Hirst in the Times.

It is conceivable that, should Arsenal endure yet another campaign in 2016-17 without mounting a proper title challenge, Bellerin could be tempted by Barca or City, where his prospects of winning major titles would be improved.

If Wenger were to leave Arsenal, then the temptation may become a genuine desire from Bellerin to leave the club and pursue his career elsewhere.

The defender is contracted to Arsenal until 2019, and Barcelona were recently reported to be cooling on the idea of pursuing him if they could snap up Valencia's Joao Cancelo for £20 million-25 million, per Sport (via Ed Malyon in the Mirror).

The Gunners are in a strong position to keep Bellerin long term and arguably the Emirates is still the best place for him.

But they need to give him assurances about the future of the club and potentially get him signed on to a new deal or else rumours of his departure will continue.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.