Manchester City are set to test Arsenal’s resolve with a move for Spanish right-back Hector Bellerín, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Signing a player from Arsenal is not as simple as it once was, and Arsène Wenger does not want to lose the talented 21-year-old, but the Barcelona-based newspaper claims that he is tempted by the idea of working with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad. Other than City, United, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich have expressed interest in Bellerín, showing just how highly regarded he is across Europe.
Barcelona could be a tempting option for Bellerín were he to leave the Emirates, particularly with long-serving right-back Dani Alves joining Juventus, but they are operating on a budget this summer and are unable to afford him. Some British newspapers say Bellerín could cost as much as £43 million (€51.6 million), an enormous price tag for a full-back, but Arsenal’s wealth and market inflation mean they could justify such a fee if the player expressed his desire to leave.
Bellerín was raised in La Masia, the famous academy of Barcelona, and Mundo Deportivo believes he is a big admirer of Pep Guardiola. Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad, therefore, is what gives City the edge if they can prise the player away from Arsenal. Bellerín has never worked with Pep before, but in the words of Mundo Deportivo, ‘has learned the same football language’, and also understands that he would be handed a starting role immediately by the Catalan coach.
To make matters worse for Arsenal, Bellerín’s agent Albert Botines, who also represents City academy duo Erik Sarmiento and Paolo Fernandes, arrived in England a few hours ago to weigh up his client’s options. And according to Mundo Deportivo, it is Manchester City who are in the lead for him.