Hector Bellerin has revealed he left Barcelona for Arsenal at the tender age of 16 because the Premier League side made it clear they desperately wanted him.
The right-back was set to sign professional terms with the Catalans when the Emirates outfit came knocking in 2011 and he did not need to think twice about their offer after paying Arsenal a visit.
“When you get to 16 at Barcelona, it’s the age that you sign your main contract. I was about to sign that but we knew there were a lot of other options because you always get them from other teams at that time. I didn’t have the option to come to Arsenal until I was right about to sign with Barcelona,” Bellerin told the official Arsenal website.
“When it came, they were so serious about it, more serious than any other team. They made me feel really wanted. I came here for a weekend. I met the boss and I remember I went to the game. We beat Manchester United and I remember [Aaron] Ramsey scoring. I still have all those images in my mind.
“To be 16 years old, to be able to speak to the boss and get reassured that they really wanted me, plus seeing all the facilities at the training ground and how easy they were going to make it for me to adapt, it all made me tell my parents that I wanted to come here.
“I remember I was on the plane back and I already said to my mum that I wanted to come to Arsenal. My mum was like, ‘Are you sure you can leave your family and friends?’ But there was something inside telling me this was the right choice to make and at the moment, I’m very happy that I made that step.”
Bellerin has been a key figure for Arsenal this season, making 14 appearances in the Premier League so far.