Barcelona have made Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin their number one summer transfer target as they finally look to address their deepening defensive crisis, according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.
The Spanish newspaper featured a picture of Bellerin on their front-page, claiming that Barcelona are confident that a deal can be completed for the 21-year-old.
The report goes on to suggest that Barca hope the player may agitate for a move away from the club should manager Arsene Wenger leave at the end of the season.
Arsenal signed Bellerin from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy in 2011, much to the dismay of the Catalan club, who had brought the player through their youth ranks from the age of eight.
The full-back, who played as a right-winger before moving to England, has gone on to establish himself as one of Arsenal’s most important players despite his tender age and recently signed a new £100,000-a-week long-term deal at the club.
He is likely to command a large transfer fee, but Mundo Deportivo report that Barcelona are willing to meet Arsenal’s valuation as they seek to reinforce their defence this summer.
Current Head Coach Luis Enrique – who is rumoured to be on the verge of exiting the club – has been heavily criticised in recent weeks for his decision not to sign a new right-back last summer, when Dani Alves decided to join Juventus on a free-transfer.
Instead, Enrique attempted to fill the position by converting winger Sergio Roberto into a defender. But the 25-year-old has struggled in the unfamiliar position and was guilty of losing the ball in the build-up to Unai López’s equalising goal in the recent La Liga match against Leganés, which Barcelona narrowly won 2-1.
A recent report in Spanish publication Sport even claimed that the Spaniard is tired of playing in defence and has been reassured he will be moved back into midfield next season.
Aleix Vidal is also capable of playing at right-back – although is most used as a right winger – but dislocated his ankle during Barcelona’s 6-1 away win against Deportivo Alavés and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
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