EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Barcelona prefers young right-back over 27-year-old star

Julian Araujo

Last summer, when Barcelona signed Hector Bellerin, it was clear that the player was brought in only as an emergency option.

He has failed to perform at the Blaugrana’s level despite being a former La Masia prospect. Because of this, Xavi Hernandez overlooked him in favor of Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, and even Alejandro Balde.

As things stand, it is extremely unlikely that Barcelona will renew the 27-year-old’s contract upon his arrival.

The new target of Barcelona is to replace Hector Bellerin

Diari ARA reports that Barcelona would rather bet on Girona’s Arnau Martinez, another former La Masia trainee. In 2016, the 19-year-old right-back joined L’Hospitalet after several years at Barcelona’s La Masia. His development has taken him from Girona’s youth team to first-team status for the Catalan club after two years.

As Girona regained La Liga status last season, Martinez was a regular in the side. In 12 appearances in the Spanish top flight, the 19-year-old has two goals and an assist to his name. It is no secret that the teenage defender wants to return to Barcelona, but only as a first-teamer. In the summer transfer window, Barça may also consider signing Martinez since the coaches seem to rate him highly.

Girona’s contract with the 19-year-old runs until 2025 with a €20 million release clause. As for Barcelona’s financial situation, it remains to be seen whether they will be willing to pay that sum to re-sign the former La Masia star.

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