Arsene Wenger has confirmed plans are afoot to extend Hector Bellerin’s contract, as Barcelona eye the Spain defender.
Bellerin joined Arsenal’s academy as a teenager from Barca’s La Masia in 2011, bursting onto the first-team scene at the Emirates Stadium in 2014.
He appeared in all but two of their Premier League games last season and has been an ever-present this term, as well as making his senior international debut in the run-up to Euro 2016.
Barca previously brought Cesc Fabregas back to Camp Nou after he trod the path followed by Bellerin to London, and have been heavily linked with the 21-year-old right-back as they seek a replacement for Dani Alves.
“I’m surprised by the speculations – he has nearly three years to go,” Wenger said of Bellerin.
“We always try to get the players to a level where they deserve to be, so we’ll try to extend his contract.
“But for me his long-term future is here. You do not necessarily play where you were born. Modern life is not like that and he integrated the values of our club very well.
“He has been fantastic, let’s not forget that his first game he had a nightmare when I played him and the year before [on loan] at Watford he didn’t play, his progress has been absolutely spectacular.
“He has top mental strength. He loves to be here and has responsibilities in the dressing room. For a young age, it’s remarkable.”