Hector Bellerin's long-term future at Arsenal - Arsene Wenger
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger has confirmed he will offer Hector Bellerin an improved contract and ruled out selling the Spain full-back amid reported interest from Barcelona and Manchester City.
Bellerin, 21, has been one of Arsenal's best players since breaking into the first team in 2014, prompting speculation that his childhood club Barca will make a move for his services, while City boss Pep Guardiola is also reported to be keen on the player.
However, Wenger is ready to give Bellerin a pay rise in order to secure his long-term services, even though he is already under contract until 2019.
"He has nearly three years to go, but we always try to get the players to the level where they deserve to be, so we'll try to extend his contract as well," the Arsenal boss said at his news conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League game against Swansea. "For me, his long-term future is here."
Wenger said he would not consider selling the player, and that he has "been surprised by the speculation" linking him to other clubs.
Many have drawn similarities between Bellerin and former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas as both joined the Gunners from Barcelona's La Masia academy as 16-year-olds, with the latter returning to the Camp Nou in 2011.
However, Wenger expressed confidence Bellerin would stay, saying: "I think in life you do not necessarily have to play where you were born. Modern life is not exactly like that.
"What is important is that a player meets his needs where he is, and his values. And I think he integrated very well the values of our club. He came at a very, very young age, at 16 years of age, so I think he's a real Arsenal player.
"I think he loves to be here, and he has responsibilities already in the dressing room. For such a young age it's something remarkable."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.