When Arsene Wenger and his generally impressive, yet often equally predictable, Gunners outfit were first drawn up against FC Barcelona in the knock-out stages of the Champions League this season, few gave the North Londoners a hope in hell of successfully seeing off their formidable Spanish opposition, and triumphantly marching on to the next round of the competition.
And after Luis Enrique’s La Liga giants eventually finished the first leg of the tie with two goals up on their Premier League counterparts on the night, it now looks as if Arsenal have once again blown their chances of finally landing some much needed silverware in Europe.
However, one man who impressed greatly for Arsene Wenger’s side, was none other than 20-year-old Spanish full-back Hector Bellerin. The flying Gunners defender has subsequently seen his name linked with a dramatic return to his former employers in recent weeks, after initially beginning his career in the famed Barcelona academy at the Nou Camp just a few seasons ago.
So, must Arsenal simply do everything within their power in order to hold onto the rapidly emerging full-back this summer, or does Hector Bellerin now look set on moving back to the Spanish game before the 2016/17 campaign eventually gets underway?
As the Spaniard has certainly developed his overall game a great deal since first bursting onto the scene at the Emirates under Arsene Wenger, perhaps Barcelona’s reported interest in their former youngster should ultimately arrive as very little surprise…
Bellerin has simply represented one of the Gunners most consistent performers in recent seasons, despite playing alongside a somewhat questionable back-four that often sees a great deal of criticism come its way with every passing league campaign.
The increasingly impressive Emirates favourite must go down as one of Wenger’s most underrated assets of the modern era. Bellerin has shown real class when breaking down the flanks so far this season, his tireless nature throughout the entire 90 minutes has often proved priceless for the Gunners at times of late, and the former Barca talent can rarely be found casting his equally important defensive responsibilities aside either.
Barcelona’s apparent desire to bring Bellerin back to the Nou Camp this summer will therefore arrive as a potential concern for the Emirates faithful right in the here and now. Arsenal have famously seen the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and even a certain Thierry Henry make the switch from North London to the Catalonian giants in recent years after all – so now is simply no time for Wenger to be resting on his laurels.
As Barcelona’s current main man at right-back, the once flawless figure that is Dani Alves, seemingly isn’t getting any younger among Luis Enrique’s side with all things fairly considered, perhaps it really is only a matter of time before the Gunners are forced to part ways with Hector Bellerin in the not too distant future.
The gap in quality between both sides has indeed grown quite significantly in recent seasons it must be said, possibly leaving Wenger with little choice but to concede defeat to his Spanish opposition over the course of the summer transfer window.
Bellerin’s chances of staking a real claim for himself among the Spanish national side will likely be improved should he eventually decide to join up with Barcelona this summer, which is something Arsenal ultimately have little control over – regardless of how well the young defender is received down at the Emirates at this particular stage in his career.
It seems as if Barcelona have certainly found themselves a target worth pursuing in the shape of Hector Bellerin – so unless another emerging hot-shot of a right-back suddenly steals the spot-light between now and the end of the current campaign – Arsenal fans may have to issue their goodbyes towards the defender far sooner than most initially expected.