Mikel Arteta on Bukayo Saka
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With the transfer window now open, it’s not taken long for Arsenal to be linked with more big-money deals just months after they were the biggest-spending Premier League team in the summer.
Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta was a busy man as he embarked on overhauling a squad that has disappointed domestically in recent years.
That policy has seemingly paid off, with Arsenal currently occupying the final Champions League spot; something the Gunners will be seeking to build on in 2022.
Despite spending big in the summer, recent reports have linked Arsenal with a big-money move for Brighton’s flying full-back, Tariq Lamptey.
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If Arsenal do decide to pull the trigger on a £35million move for Lamptey, it would be the Gunners’ second big-money raid on the AMEX in a year after shelling out £50m on Ben White in the summer.
But pressing ahead with a move for Lamptey would be a huge snub to Takehiru Tomiyasu, who has excelled since his arrival at the Emirates in final hours of the summer transfer window.
The 23-year-old has been virtually ever-present since rubber-stamping his £17m switch from Serie A side Bologna, making 15 appearances for the Londoners.
Whilst likes of White and Aaron Ramsdale have been hailed for the impact they’ve made since their summer moves, Tomiyasu has slipped slightly under the radar. But the Japanese international’s role in Arsenal’s recent revival has been just as important.
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Throughout Arteta’s reign, the right-back slot has proved to be a troublesome one.
Hector Bellerin was plagued by injury issues before his departure from the club while Callum Chambers and Cedric Soares have failed to take numerous chances to nail down the vacant berth.
Already Tomiyasu has looked a far better fit than any of his rivals for the shirt.
Arsenal and Arteta may have a long-term interest in Lamptey – who has made Chelsea’s decision to let him leave for a ludicrously low £3m fee back in 2019 look incredibly naive.
But making a move for him in January would be incredibly harsh on Tomiyasu, who would likely be shunted out of the Gunners team given the fee that Lamptey would reportedly command; it seems highly unlikely that Arsenal would sanction spending £35m for someone to come and sit on the bench.
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Given that Arsenal spent in excess of £140m in the summer, it’s unlikely they’ll have riches to spend in the New Year.
It doesn’t make sense for Arsenal to be considering spending such a large sum on a position that they’ve, effectively, already filled. And if they do see Lamptey as long-term competition for Tomiyasu, is now really the time to sanction such a huge deal considering the club, arguably has greater transfer priorities right now?
It feels like a no-brainer for Arsenal to be focusing all of their efforts on finding a new striker given the way that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s messy divorce from the club has played out in the public eye over the past month.
Arteta and Arsenal’s sporting director Edu have managed to get the club’s recruitment work back on track over the last year.
But plotting a big-money deal for Lamptey right now, just six months after splashing the cash on Tomiyasu, feels like a step in the wrong direction.
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