Arsenal Transfer News: Barcelona Favourites for Hector Bellerin, Latest Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2018

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) vies with Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Wembley stadium in north London on February 25, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
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Barcelona are reportedly the favourites to sign Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin this summer, as Juventus have decided not to go after the Spain international due to his wage demands.

The Guardian's David Hytner previously reported the Bianconeri were eyeing a summer move for Bellerin, a longtime target who might be available due to the issues at the Emirates Stadium and his lack of progression in the last two seasons.

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Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport (h/t TalkSport) now report the Serie A giants have already shelved those plans due to the player's wage demands. Instead, former club Barcelona will chase the 22-year-old in the summer.

Bellerin has been one of the main targets of angry Arsenal fans and pundits following a string of poor results for the club from the English capital.

Football writer Matt Spiro couldn't help but take a shot at the speedster and how he has fared of late, compared to former team-mate Mathieu Debuchy, who now plays for AS Saint-Etienne:

Bellerin was once regarded as one of the game's best prospects at the right-back position, but these days, he struggles to even get into the Spanish national team. The likes of Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal, Barcelona's Sergi Roberto and even Real Sociedad's Alvaro Odriozola all sit ahead of him in the pecking order.

He's still reliant on his athleticism and makes the same mistakes he did two years ago. Bellerin still has plenty of time to develop as a player, but he appears to have stalled at Arsenala move may be just what he needs.

Bellerin remains a key player for the Gunners, as evidenced by this statistic:

Arsenal won't part with their top right-back easily, and the club's likely asking price makes a move to Turin seem unlikely. The Bianconeri's transfer plans always revolve around value, and Bellerin would likely prove too costly given the risks he carries.

The club also has a young, athletic Spanish right-back of its own in Pol Lirola, who was sold to Sassuolo in January. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, it is widely believed the Bianconeri retain a buy-back clause.

Bellerin has been linked with a return to Barcelona ever since he moved to north London in 2011, and a reunion at the Camp Nou appears more plausible.

The Catalans have a bigger transfer budget than Juventus, and less of a pressing need at the position―they could afford to take a chance on Bellerin, rather than invest in a safer option.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Roberto is in the midst of a fine campaign, but Barcelona's decision to invest heavily in Nelson Semedo last summer indicates they aren't convinced Spaniard is the long-term answer at the position.

Semedo has been a disappointment in his first year at the Camp Nou, though, and Barcelona tend to lose patience with underperforming players rather quickly. If his struggles persist until summer, the Catalans could cut their losses early and go after Bellerin, a player they know from his time in their youth setup.

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