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Arsenal defender Bellerin leaves Barcelona transfer door ajar as he admits interest is 'special'

12:16 AM GMT+8 22/03/2017
hector bellerin - cropped
The Spain international has always maintained he does not want to go back to Camp Nou, but the Gunners full-back appears to have softened that stance

Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin admits it is "special" to hear about reported interest from former club Barcelona.

The 22-year-old has regularly been linked with a potential move back to Camp Nou, despite having extended his Gunners contract  - reportedly until 2023 - last November.

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Bellerin stated towards the end of last year that he had no interest in rejoining Barca but, despite repeating that he felt underappreciated at the club, he has conceded that the latest rumours are flattering.

"It's nice there are a lot of big clubs that are interested in me, but if one of those is Barcelona, that's special," he told Sport. "I don't forget I grew up in that home and I will never forget my stay at Barcelona."

Of his frustrations at Barca prior to joining Arsenal in 2011 he added: "I left Barcelona because I felt the club was not confident in me, I didn't feel valued; [I felt] disenchanted." 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said last week that it was difficult to imagine Bellerin signing for Barca so soon after renewing his contract at Emirates Stadium.

"Barcelona's alleged interest in Bellerin is very hard to take seriously," he told a news conference. "He has just signed a new contract and still has many years left."

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Bellerin has emerged as a main target for Barca before next season in some reports in Spain, with the right-back proving to be a particularly troublesome position for head coach Luis Enrique this term.

Sergi Roberto has regularly been deployed as a makeshift wing-back, while Javier Mascherano has also been used in the position since Aleix Vidal suffered a serious ankle injury in February.

Tottenham's Kyle Walker, Southampton's Cedric Soares and Joao Cancelo of Valencia have also been linked with the La Liga champions.