Juventus are keen on bringing Arsenal full-back Héctor Bellerín to Turin in the summer, according to reports in Italy.
Bellerín has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers over the last four seasons, and despite not having his best year at the club, the Italian giants realise the Spaniard’s potential.
Whether they can lure the Barcelona graduate away from the Emirates is another question.
From a young age, Arsene Wenger put a lot of trust in Bellerín, realising the right-back position could be his for the next decade.
That trust was repaid with a lucrative contract offer last season, which runs on until 2023.
The Italian champions would be required to cough up a huge sum to release him from that contract. Arsenal need only look across town at rivals Tottenham and the sale of Kyle Walker to see the effect an inflated market has had on the price of jet-helled full-backs.
It’s a sign also of the importance of wing-backs, as effective in attack as they are on defensive duties, in today’s game; a trend which is as predominant in Italy as it is England.
Juventus have been exponents of 3-5-2 for a number of years under Max Allegri and full-backs have of recent years experienced happy spells at the club. Patrice Evra spent three years at the club and underwent a renaissance in a less taxing role than he had at United. His replacement, Alex Sandro has since been a relevation as a bombing left-back.
Juventus’ current first choice right wing-back, 33-year-old Stephan Lichtsteiner is expected to leave the club in the summer and back up right-back Mattia de Sciglio isn’t considered good enough to replace the veteran Swiss on a permanent basis.
Bellerín would be a perfect fit for the Vecchia Signora, but whether they can afford him – and whether the Spaniard would prefer to see out his contract at the club he loves, under a manager he deeply respects – are two other matters.