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Arsenal target Tariq Lamptey would not look out of place in front of European leaders

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The 20-year-old, who would spark interest for the Gunners after a brilliant first year at Brighton, has world-class potential

If anyone did the count, it’s been around 54 weeks since right-back Tariq Lamptey made his Premier League debut.

The circumstances were, in a word, peculiar.

At the Emirates Stadium, a London derby was taking place. In the red corner, Arsenal, who was a goal in front thanks to a first match by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 13th minute from a corner. In the Blue, a Chelsea team that had been blown away in the first half hour and desperately needed intervention from the bench.

The first act of stopping the bleeding came in the form of a change of shape, effected by the introduction of the metronome of midfielder Jorginho. However, it was the second roll of the dice that effectively reversed the dynamics of the game: Fikayo Tomori, who had bravely filled the role of right-back after the reshuffle, came with a new face, starting 19- Age.

The effect was immediate and blinding, like a sudden flash singing the retina.

Suddenly, in a position of uncertainty, Chelsea of ​​Frank Lampard began to overload their hosts on the right flank. Lamptey’s athleticism and fearlessness posed very different questions about Arsenal’s defense, pushing Bukayo Saka away and more or less negating his influence on the attack. At the other end of the field, the newbie wouldn’t miss either: his brilliant interception when the Gunners broke up stopped a dangerous foray into his momentum, signaling his maturity and reading of the game.

Ultimately, Chelsea would reverse the result with two goals in the final 10 minutes, and even though Lamptey didn’t directly contribute to either, he now finds himself the subject of interest reported by Arsenal: clearly, the impression that he made was quite large, and has been stuck ever since.

Of course, it helped that since then Lamptey has reached out and grabbed his fate in Brighton and Hove Albion.

His willingness to take that step, as opposed to lining up behind Reece James at Chelsea, not only speaks highly of his confidence and daring, but has multiplied his profile a thousandfold.

His speed and eagerness to move forward have found a natural home in Graham Potter’s Brighton, where the three-back system allows Lamptey to rush forward with abandon. The joy with which he responds to this imperative, repeatedly tearing apart opposing left-backs, has already seen him score once, lay on top of another and win two penalties this season.

While there have been moments of reprimand, such as in the late November win over Aston Villa, when he was sent off, his current absence due to slight hamstring strain has severely crippled a Brighton in trouble. The Seagulls haven’t won any of their last four games since Lamptey was injured against Fulham on December 16, and have yet to find a suitable replacement for him on the squad – an unprecedented impact for one. 20-year-old player. during his first year at a new club.

Tariq Lamptey Brighton 2020-21

With Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain longtime admirers of Hector Bellerin, Arsenal appear ready to move for the eligible defender in Ghana.

He’s a target that would dramatically increase the Gunners’ offensive play under Mikel Arteta, especially since a number of serious injuries notably deprived Bellerin of the blistering acceleration he once possessed.

However, given that, as well as the fact that Arsenal would still have both Cedric Soares and Ainsley Maitland-Niles – both of whom are part of the right-back rotation – on long-term contracts, one wonders if Barcelona and PSG might not be better served by removing the middleman entirely and choosing Lamptey himself.

He certainly offers the kind of game-changing ability (with room to develop even more) that would make him an immediate hit at these clubs, and he’s already shown a unique spirit to uproot himself from a youngster. age and adapt to a new environment.

A potential link with Mauricio Pochettino in the French capital, given the work the Argentina manager has done to polish and elevate the talents of Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, would be quite interesting.

It is hardly surprising that we talk about him in these terms: his gifts really are just as important.

It remains to be seen whether he will be ready for the trip to Manchester City on Wednesday, especially as Potter has been keen to avoid making the hamstring problem worse, and rightly so. However, it’s against the biggest teams in the league where he has seemed to thrive the most, with all-star rounds against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham already this quarter.

As such, if he was chosen here, it would make sense to schedule fireworks. If anyone can test the citizens’ newfound defensive strength, Lamptey can.