Inter Milan have made their first approach to sign Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin though their offer is some way short of the Gunners’ valuation, according to reports.
The Spaniard, who has been at the north London club for a decade, is eager for a new challenge and looks set to leave this summer, with Mikel Arteta happy to cash in on the right-back.
A number of clubs have shown interest in the former Barcelona academy player, including two teams in his native Spain: Atletico Madrid and Villarreal.
But it is Italian giants Inter who have made the first move to sign the 26-year-old, with Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio reporting that the Serie A champions have opened talks with Arsenal.
Inter are in the market for a new right-back ahead of Achraf Hakimi’s looming big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain and have decided on Bellerin as his replacement.
They have already spoken to his agent and have now submitted a loan offer to Arsenal with the right to buy Bellerin at the end of the deal.
But that falls someway short of Arsenal’s asking price, who want around €20million (£17.2m), while any loan deal would need to include an obligation to buy and big up-front fee.
Arsenal know there is plenty of interest in Bellerin and can play hardball over a fee and the structure of the deal, with at least one other top Serie A side interested in the full-back as well as the aforementioned La Liga duo of Atletico and Villarreal.
Arteta is looking to have a massive clear-out this summer, having promised an ‘unprecedented’ window before the end of the season, with the likes of William Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira all up for sale in addition to Bellerin.
The Gunners want to raise funds in order to strengthen in a number of key areas; a new centre-back is their top priority and they are trying to agree a £50m deal to sign Brighton’s Ben White.