Barcelona’s vice-president Jordi Mestre has heaped praise on Hector Bellerin, as speculation mounts that the Arsenal right-back could return to the Nou Camp.
The 21-year-old Spain international, born in Barcelona, started his career in the club’s youth La Masia youth academy before moving to north London in 2011.
Bellerin has developed into one of the Premier League’s leading full-backs, having broken into Arsene Wenger’s first team two seasons ago.
The youngster’s development has reportedly caught the eye of his former club, and Mestre has now talked up Bellerin.
“We’ve already seen him as a Cule [Barcelona follower],” he said. “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.”
Alves, Barcelona’s first-choice right-back between 2008 and 2016, joined Juventus on a free transfer at the end of last season.
Mestre also related Bellerin’s situation to that of other La Masia youth products who left in search of regular football and then returned as established players in their own right.
“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 a dynamic which has always provided good results for players that carry the Barça DNA in their blood.”