Barcelona have reportedly earmarked the signing of Arsenal star Hector Bellerin as the top priority for the coming summer transfer window. Yet, Mundo Deportivo adds that the La Liga giants could still sign Juanfran from Deportivo La Coruña now in order to cope with the absence of long-term casualty Aleix Vidal until the end of the current season.
Bellerin was already heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp during the last summer transfer window after the Catalans lost Dani Alves to Juventus.
However, Barcelona finally decided against bolstering the right-back role and instead went for versatile Sergi Roberto and Vidal. The decision appeared to pay off after the former enjoyed an impressive first part of the season despite originally being a midfielder.
Luis Enrique then said that 25-year-old Sergi Roberto had everything needed to become Barcelona's long-term right-back.
Barcelona then appeared to give up on signing Bellerin and in November the 21-year-old full-back committed his long-term future to Arsenal by signing a new deal.
But much has changed at Barcelona since then and Mundo Deportivo is now reporting that Bellerin is once again the Catalans' no.1 target ahead of the 2016-2017 campaign. Sergi Roberto has struggled in the position lately due to his lack of speed while Vidal recently suffered an ankle injury which is expected to keep him on the sidelines for around five months.
Barcelona have now realized that not signing an specialist to replace Alves was a mistake and are ready to make amends in the summer by spending big on a new right-back. Valencia wing-back Joao Cancelo was also said to be a target but Mundo Deportivo suggests that the Barcelona officials are having second thoughts on his arrival due to his inconsistency in defence.
This way former Barcelona academy product Bellerin has emerged once again as the top target for the La Liga giants, even though they know that luring him away from Arsenal will involve a major investment. Yet, Barcelona understand that his return to the Nou Camp will be worth any price as the Arsenal star is still only 21 and could be the club's right-back for the next decade.
Then Mundo Deportivo believes that the future of Bellerin's mentor Arsene Wenger will be the key for Barcelona to get the right-back. Nevertheless, the Spanish publication suggests that, if the Arsenal boss leaves, Bellerin will feel freer to force his exit from the Premier League giants.
Barcelona could still sign Juanfran from Deportivo now
Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo adds that the interest in Bellerin does not rule out the possibility of Barcelona signing a right-back to cope without Vidal until the end of the season.
La Liga allows Barcelona to make an emergency acquisition after Vidal was ruled out for five months. However, it can't be Bellerin as the rule states that it has to be a free-agent or a player from another Spanish club.
In this sense the report claims that the chosen one is former Watford defender Juanfran. Yet, Deportivo is fighting for the relegation and his arrival doesn't look easy either.