By Derek Smithson
Barcelona are prepared to use midfielder Rafinha as a makeweight in a deal to sign Arsenal ace Hector Bellerin, according to a report.
Spanish outlet Marca claim that the European giants are keen to sign the Arsenal 22-year-old in the summer and take him back to the Camp Nou.
It is understood that Barcelona will use Rafinha in a player-plus-cash deal to help reduce the price of defender Bellerin.
The report details that Rafinha is open to a move to the Premier League and wants to experience regular first-team football away from the Spanish heavyweights.
Bellerin began his footballing path in Barcelona’s academy before making the switch to the Emirates Stadium as a youngster.
The Spain Under-21 international has now racked up 115 senior appearances for the Gunners and is an important member of Arsene Wenger’s side.
The pacy right-back played 42 times last season, but was often criticised by Arsenal fans for his end product.
Meanwhile, versatile midfielder Rafinha wants a move in the summer after playing a fringe role for Barcelona.
The 24-year-old Brazilian made 28 appearances across all competitions last season, scoring seven goals and supplying five assists in return.
He is a central midfielder by trade, but can also be used as a right winger and has a great eye for goal.
Football Insider verdict:
Bellerin may divide opinion with some Arsenal fans, but the 22-year-old should be kept at the club. The speedy full-back is an important member of the Gunners starting XI and has shown in the past his qualities in the Premier League. He still has plenty of time to improve in the future and should be able to nail down a position in the Arsenal side for the next 10 years. Barcelona’s interest proves that the Spaniard is a top-class talent and can play an important role in the Champions League. The north London club need to realise that Bellerin may still have inconsistent patches, but can be a highly successful player for the long-term.