Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a huge fan of Tariq Lamptey but the jet-heeled right-back is expected to sign a new contract at Brighton and Hove Albion, as reported by The Sun (15 January, page 55).
The Gunners might have maintained their unbeaten spell on Thursday night but that was perhaps the only positive worth taking from a goalless draw with Crystal Palace.
In truth, it was a performance that would not have looked out of place during that disastrous run of form in late-Autumn, as a well-drilled Palace side comfortably kept Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an anonymous Alexandre Lacazette off the scoresheet.
One of the few highlights in a performance lacking in intensity, speed and incision, however, was Hector Bellerin.
The Spain international was a regular menace down the right and, for the most part, dealt rather well with the high-stepping, weaving Wilf Zaha at the other end.
But, according to The Sun, Arteta has set his sights on a 20-year-old Englishman capable of not only challenging Bellerin for a first-team place, but ousting the long-serving defender from Arsenal’s starting XI.
Arteta is understood to be very keen on Lamptey – and with good reason.
The former Chelsea youngster has been a revelation since joining Brighton for £4 million a year ago.
In fact, Lamptey may be the only player in the Premier League capable of roasting Bellerin in a straight footrace, while his pinpoint crossing ability makes him a more reliable, creative outlet than Arsenal’s inconsistent number two.
The Sun adds that Lamptey is set to sign a new, long-term deal at the Amex, complete with a major rise on his current £14,000-a-week pay-packet.