Learning curve: Hector Bellerin joined the Arsenal academy at 16

By Alex Taylor

Barcelona have identified Hector Bellerin as their long-term replacement for Dani Alves, according to a report.

Spanish publication Sport claim that Bellerin is being lined up as a January transfer target for the La Liga giants.

Former Barcelona right-back Alves left the club in the summer after joining Juventus on a free transfer.

The report says that the Bellerin, 21, and Barcelona chief Robert Fernandez were in contact in late May to discuss Barca’s interest in his services.

It is understood that Luis Enrique does not see current first-choice right-back Aleix Vidal as being capable of providing long-term stability in the position.

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Bellerin has long been touted with a return to his former club, the pacy defender previously spent eight years at the Camp Nou, coming through their famous youth system in Spain.

The youngster still has three years to run on his current deal in north London but could be tempted by a move to La Liga.

The former Watford loanee has developed himself into of the best right-back’s in England and it is believed that Barcelona would like to open negotiations in a matter of weeks.

Bellerin has played 122 career matches scoring eight goals and providing 15 assists.

In other Arsenal transfer news, Mesut Ozil broke his own passing record for a single Premier League fixture as he completed 104 passes during the Gunners 4-1 win over Hull on Saturday afternoon.