Arsenal are set to terminate the contract of Hector Bellerin as Barcelona close in on the eventual free transfer signing of the Spain international.
The 27-year-old was handed his Gunners debut by legendary boss Arsene Wenger after joining the club 2011, having initially come through Barca’s famous La Masia academy.
But, after eventually succeeding Bacary Sagna as the club’s first-choice right-back, Bellerin suffered a serious knee injury in January 2019.
He did feature early on in Mikel Arteta’s reign but struggled to return to his best form.
Bellerin spent last season loan at Real Betis and played a major role as they won the Copa del Rey. The LaLiga outfit had hoped to secure a permanent transfer but financial issues scuppered their chances.
And now the pacy full-back looks set to go back to where it all began by joining Barca.
The Catalan side are in need of a new right-back, with Sergino Dest set to join AC Milan on a season-long loan.
Barcelona turn to former academy star
Bellerin was not Barca’s first choice, however. Xavi initially wanted Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, but he opted to sign a new deal at Stamford Bridge instead.
The Arsenal stalwart could be one of two Premier League defenders to head to Barcelona on deadline day. Marcos Alonso is being tipped to move to the Nou Camp as part of former Gunners striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s switch to the Blues.
As for other potential outgoings at Arsenal, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to join Southampton on loan.
The versatile midfielder is expected to sign a new Gunners contract before then heading to St Mary’s.