Finding themselves short on options in the position, La Liga giants Barcelona are thought to be on the lookout for a right-back to sign in the summer and have already earmarked two Premier League stars as transfer targets.
The Blaugrana have struggled to fill the right side of their back-four for much of the season, with first-choice Sergi Roberto understood to be lacking the quality to play for the Barca first team, and understudy Aleix Vidal frequently afflicted by injury.
The five-time Champions League winners, it appears, are missing their trusty defender Dani Alves, who spent a total eight seasons for Barca from 2008 to 2016, only to leave under relatively controversial circumstances last summer in order to move to defending Serie A champions Juventus.
As such, Barcelona are now on the hunt for a proper, ready-made right-back in preparation for their campaign next season – and it seems they have made the Premier League their hunting grounds, shortlisting two stars from the England’s top-tier competition.
The two right-backs on Barcelona’s shortlist are the following.
Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
The 26-year-old Kyle Walker has been in scintillating form this season. Possessing great pace and admirable dribbling skills, the Sheffield-born full-back’s runs from the right side of defence have been a great source of Tottenham’s attack throughout the campaign. Indeed, he has already notched five assists so far in the league, and is always looking to add to that tally in each succeeding game.
With such talent, it’s no wonder Barcelona are weighing their chances at snapping up the England international, according to the Evening Standard. However, Tottenham will likely be hesitant to let such a phenomenal player leave. The North London giants will certainly be slapping a hefty price on the former Aston Villa defender and it remains to be seen if the Spanish side will be willing to meet Tottenham’s valuation of Walker.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
A product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, Hector Bellerin made his move to Arsenal back in 2011, joining the Gunners’ under-21s. Fast forward seven years later, the Catalonia-born right-back has developed into a world-class talent. His silky runs from deep as well as his insightful passing has made him a first-choice right-back for manager Arsene Wenger.
For their part, Barcelona are eager to have a reunion with their proverbial prodigal son. According to Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan heavyweights are eager to take advantage of Wenger’s imminent departure from the Emirates Stadium to seal the capture of the 21-year-old Bellerin. They are well aware that Bellerin would cost a lot given his recent contract extension and as such are waiting for Wenger to leave the Gunners helm so they can sign their former player amidst the ensuring power vacuum the French manager will leave behind.
Of course, whether Arsenal will indeed let Bellerin go in panic or stay clear-minded and keep Bellerin rooted in London is still uncertain.