Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre has spoken in glowing terms about Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin to heighten speculation the LaLiga champions could try and bring him back to Camp Nou.
Bellerin is a product of Barca’s feted youth system but left the club at 16 to work under Arsene Wenger.
Now 21, the Spain international is a first-team fixture at Emirates Stadium but, in an interview with Sport, Mestre hinted Bellerin could complete the same return to Catalonia made by ex-Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas in 2011.
“We’ve already seen him as a Cule [Barcelona follower],” Mestre 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.”
Brazil international Alves is now with Juventus following a celebrated spell at Barca, with Sergi Roberto becoming the first-choice right-back.
Mestre went on to talk up the benefits of youngsters leaving Camp Nou to return as the finished article.
“In many cases it’s good that they leave to develop as players and then return [with that experience],” he added.
“Look at the cases of Cesc, [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 Barca DNA in their blood.”
Bellerin’s contract at Arsenal expires in 2019.