Barcelona have piled praise on Hector Bellerin – heightening reports the Spanish champions are ready to make a January move for the Arsenal full-back.
Bellerin spent eight years as a youth player in Barcelona’s developmental system from 2003, before departing for north London in 2011.
The Spaniard made his first-team debut for Arsenal within two years of joining the club, and has now become their starting right-back.
The player has subsequently been linked with his former club on numerous occasions and did little to distance the rumours when they resurfaced earlier this year.
And after it was claimed the 21-year-old has now emerged as one of their top targets for January, the club’s vice president Jordi Mestre has hailed his talents.
“We’ve already seen him as a Cule!” he told Spanish newspaper Sport. “He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about that.
“Wenger convinced him to move and promised him something which we couldn’t.
“We could not promise him that within two years he would be playing in Dani Alves’ place.”
Mestre went on to compare Bellerin with Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Denis Suarez – all players who left Barcelona as youngsters before returning in their later years.
“In many cases it’s good that they leave to develop as players and then return [with that experience], he said.
“Look at the cases of Cesc [Fabregas], [Gerard] Pique, [Jordi] Alba and Denis Suarez… I hope the same thing will happen with [Sergi] Samper, too.
“It’s positive that [these players] get minutes at other clubs. It is dynamic which has always provided good results for players that carry the Barca DNA in their blood.”