Arsenal signing this rising 20-year-old PL starlet would be a fantastic long-term move

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Why Arsenal should consider replacing Bellerin with Tariq Lamptey

According to the Mirror (h/t Daily Mail), Arsenal have lined up Brighton right-back Tariq Lamptey as a potential replacement for Hector Bellerin heading into the January window. 

As per the report, Barcelona could move for Bellerin next month or at the end of the season if Joan Laporta wins the club’s presidential elections. He has pledged to bring the former La Masia youth graduate back to Camp Nou as the Blaugrana plan a rebuild under Ronald Koeman.

It has been claimed that the Gunners are already keeping close tabs on Lamptey and could offer him a route back to London. The 20-year-old rose through the youth ranks of Chelsea and made his first-team breakthrough against Arsenal in the Premier League last year in December. Lamptey eventually joined Brighton for £5million in January with the hope of regular game time in the Premier League. 

Lamptey made his senior debut for the Seagulls against Leicester City following the restart in June and went on to enjoy a strong finish to the 2019-20 season with 7 starts in the Premier League. The youngster has gone from strength to strength to establish himself as a key player under Graham Potter at the Amex Stadium this term. 

Lamptey has been very impressive for Brighton in the new season (Getty Images)
Lamptey has been very impressive for Brighton this season (Getty Images)

The Hillingdon-born full-back has started 11 of the Seagulls’ 16 PL fixtures so far, with his consistent displays making him a rare bright spark amidst the club’s poor start to the campaign. He has amassed a goal and 3 assists to show for his efforts. Lamptey’s exploits on the south coast have also seen him nail down a regular starting role for the England U-21s. 

Meanwhile, Hector Bellerin has been at the centre of Arsenal’s dismal start to the season under Arteta. The Spaniard has not managed to muster any meaningful performances. He did put in a solid shift in the club’s recent 3-1 win over Chelsea but has been rather disappointing on the whole. 

Arsenal snapped up the 25-year-old from Barcelona’s youth system back in 2011 as a player with massive potential. The 4-cap Spain international made his senior debut for the Gunners in 2014 and went on to establish himself as a young sensation in the Premier League. However, at 25, Bellerin is yet to reach the heights his early potential showed, despite having made over 200 appearances. 

Tariq Lamptey of Brighton & Hove Albion (Getty Images)
Tariq Lamptey of Brighton & Hove Albion (Getty Images)

The Spaniard’s progress has been further thwarted by a string of injuries in recent seasons. The last time that Bellerin started 20+ games in the PL for Arsenal was way back in 2017-18. With Ainsley Maitland-Niles also emerging as a key squad player from the academy, the 25-year-old has been forced to grind it out for regular minutes at the Emirates.

Putting things into context, Tariq Lamptey ticks plenty of boxes to come through the door as an ideal replacement for Bellerin at Arsenal. The former Chelsea youngster has really come to the fore since his move to Brighton in January, earning rave reviews for his impressive development.

That he’s already playing week in, week out, in the Premier League at the tender age of 20 points to a bright future in the game for the full-back.

An attacking full-back very much in the mould of Bellerin, Lamptey has also caught the eye with his work rate at Brighton. The youngster has excelled in both right-back and wing-back roles, covering every blade of grass down the flanks to contribute equally at both ends of the pitch.

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney believes Tariq Lamptey would suit Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer's side. (GETTY Images)
Lamptey has emerged as a target for Arsenal (GETTY Images)

With Mikel Arteta often switching between back-four and back-three systems, Lamptey would offer the same kind of versatility and work rate as Bellerin. 

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Taking all factors into account, Arsenal shouldn’t hesitate to move for Tariq Lamptey should Bellerin end up sealing a return to Barcelona. The 20-year-old has shown great potential and still has plenty of room for development. Given his tender age and quality, the former Chelsea starlet could well evolve into one of the mainstays for the Gunners at the back for several seasons moving forward.