Atletico Madrid have identified Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin as a summer transfer target, according to a report in Spain.
Having been crowned Spanish champions last month, focus at the Wanda Metropolitano has already turned towards preparing their title defence for 2021/22.
Kieran Trippier was the go-to right-back for Diego Simeone’s side last season, making 28 league appearances despite serving a ban for breaching betting rules. However, the England defender is being linked with a return to the Premier League this summer, with Manchester United supposedly keen.
If that were to happen it could see Diego Simeone’s side enter the market for a replacement.
Bellerin was the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain last summer but was persuaded to stay at the Emirates Stadium for another season by Mikel Arteta with a view to him moving on prior to the 2021/22 campaign.
Previous reports from Spain have claimed that Real Betis have already held discussions with the 26-year-old’s representatives. Now, according to Marca, Atleti have also entered the race and are keeping tabs on the Arsenal man.
It’s alleged Andrea Berta, the club’s sporting director, has long admired Bellerin and sees him as the perfect fit because of his offensive ability as well as being able to tuck inside when without possession, as part of a narrow four man defence.
Bellerin, who started his career at Barcelona, started just two of Arsenal’s last 13 Premier League games with Arteta preferring to hand multiple opportunities to Calum Chambers – suggesting the Spanish right back’s time in London may be coming to an end.
Sime Vrsaljko would be the in-house solution for Atletico in the event Trippier leaves but following a serious knee injury last season he’s struggled to reach the levels he had previously and that’s largely why the club see adding another full-back as a priority.
Marca add the possibility of a player swap deal with Arsenal involving Bellerin is something the new Spanish champions would consider, though they stop short of naming any potential makeweights.