Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will make 'a mistake' if they sell Hector Bellerin to Barcelona, says Santi Cazorla

Barcelona have identified their former academy player as the perfect fit for their side and will target a summer transfer next year

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The Independent Football

Santi Cazorla believes Arsenal must not sell Hector Bellerin to Barcelona should the Spanish side come calling, otherwise they will be committing “a mistake” in their attempts to rid themselves of the tag of being a selling club.

Arsenal appear to already be on course to losing the unwanted reputation, which arose from selling the likes of Thierry Henry, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor as the paid off the Emirates Stadium. With the debt incurred from the project now paid off though, Arsenal have managed to hold onto their best players for the last few years, and performances have improved as a result.

The problem now though is ensuring they challenge for enough silverware to keep the likes of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez happy in order for them to sign new contracts and remain with the club, and with the Gunners currently level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City, they appear on course to do just that.

But one familiar issue has arisen over the future of Bellerin, who learnt his trade in the Barcelona academy before moving to Arsenal as a teenager in the same vein as Fabregas. Having developed into one of the best right-backs in the country, Barcelona want Bellerin back.

Fellow Spaniard Cazorla has urged the club not to sell the 21-year-old defender though, and with the club planning on opening contract talks, Cazorla may get his wish.

"We'll see [what happens with Hector]. It is clear that Hector is the right-back of the future," Cazorla told IBTimes. "You could see in the victory over Swansea [last weekend] how good he is. He was all over the place and never stopped running. For Arsenal it would be a mistake to let him go.

“It is obvious that many teams want him. There has been talk about Manchester City and Barcelona. He is a player with great potential and I am sure he will also be a key part of the future of the Spanish national team."

Cazorla is 10 years Bellerin’s senior, and will see his own contract come to an end in the summer unless he can negotiate a new deal with the club. The midfielder remains a firm fan favourite after moving to London in 2012, and has already signalled his intention to remain with the Gunners if they are happy to have him.

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With the likes of Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey vying for the central midfield places – plus Jack Wilshere once he returns from a loan spell with Bournemouth – competition is rife in the centre of the park at Arsenal. It’s perhaps why Cazorla is determined to put his future on the backburner in order to focus on his performances, which could prove to have a decisive impact on whether the club offer him a new deal.

Cazorla and Bellerin both face uncertain futures at Arsenal for different reasons (Getty)

"In my case I will finish my contract at the end of the season but I'm not thinking about it now,” Cazorla added. “I'm just focusing on playing and giving my best on the pitch. Last season was very difficult for me after spending so much time on the sidelines [due to a knee injury]. Now I just want to enjoy myself again – and we'll see what happens in the future.

"I'm happy because I'm playing regularly. If I didn't play I would tell you that I would consider leaving, but I'm having minutes and I have the confidence of the manager. That's what every player wants.

Cazorla believes selling Bellerin would be 'a mistake' and has urged Arsenal to keep him (Getty)

"Since the very first day at this club I have had the affection of the fans, and that is amazing. I have only words of gratitude to the fans of Arsenal for how they've treated me from day one, and I try to repay them by giving my best on the pitch."

Arsenal take on Ludogorets in their third Champions League group stage fixture on Wednesday, with the chance to go top of the Premier League next weekend arising when they take on Middlesbrough.