Arsenal are keeping tabs on Brighton and Hove Albion starlet Tariq Lamptey as they brace themselves for interest in right-back Hector Bellerin from Barcelona.
Bellerin has long been tipped to return to Camp Nou at some point, and that fire was reignited recently when a report emerged suggesting that Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has made Bellerin one of his top targets if he wins January’s election.
It has even been rumoured that Bellerin has already given the green light to joining Barcelona if Laporta takes control, and according to The Mirror, Arsenal are starting to consider potential alternatives.
One player who has been watched by scouts is Lamptey, whose energetic displays have earned him rave reviews since he left Chelsea in January.
Brighton are expected to try and tie Lamptey down to a new contract in the near future to try and give them as much leverage in negotiations as possible. Manager Graham Potter has made no secret of his desire to see the England youth international blossom into a star at the AMEX Stadium and hopes to see Lamptey commit his future to the club soon.
Arsenal are not expected to move for Lamptey while Bellerin remains at the club. Mikel Arteta is a huge fan of the Spaniard and does not want to lose him, but there is an awareness that the Gunners’ current struggles might make it hard to keep players when the likes of Barcelona come calling.
Bellerin has already ruled out leaving the Emirates Stadium in January and is prepared to stay and help Arsenal put an end to their tricky run of form.
He was inspirational in Saturday’s stunning 3-1 victory over Chelsea, which has left Arteta even more determined to hold on to Bellerin.
However, with reports suggesting Barcelona are readying a £22m bid for the 25-year-old La Masia graduate, it seems as though Arteta and Arsenal are keen to ensure they are not caught off guard if Bellerin does leave.