If you cast your mind back a few seasons ago, Arsenal were renowned for being a selling club, one whose star players would seek pastures new after growing into world stars under the guidance of Arsene Wenger.
Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and, of course, Cesc Fabregas, were the three stand out names associated with this route; the latter was perhaps the most tolerated of the trio by Gunners fans after making the move back to his homeland, Barcelona.
Fast forward to this era and the north London club have seemingly shrugged off this selling mentality, instead becoming a side who plucks world class talent from the elite of Europe; Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona and Petr Cech from Chelsea.
However, the Catalan giants, who have a knack for tempting Arsenal players to their sunnier shores, maybe set to put a past scenario into motion, by reviving their interest in young Gunners right-back and rising star, Hector Bellerin.
The 21-year-old, who has become a regular first team fixture at the Emirates, has earned the praise of Barcelona vice-president, Jordi Mestre, who believes the former La Masia product could follow the same route as Fabregas in the near future.
“We’ve already seen him as a Cule [Barcelona follower],” Mestre said in an interview to Sport, as per Goal.
“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.”
The Brazilian right-back departed for Juventus on a free transfer in the summer. Mestre was then keen to stress that it is good for the club for certain academy products to learn their trade in different environments before returning.
“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.”
At this current moment in time, Luis Enrique’s options at right-back are fairly limited. Aleix Vidal, who was signed from Sevilla, has not adapted well to his new surroundings, meaning that Sergi Roberto has regularly been used in the role despite being a central player by trade.
In their recent 5-1 win over Leganes, Barcelona utilised a back three, further highlighting their weakness in the full-back areas.
Mestre clearly believes that Bellerin could be the solution and with the Spaniard’s deal expiring in 2019, a deal could be on the cards in the next few windows.