Arsenal are reportedly set to battle local rivals Tottenham for available Atletico Madrid winger Thomas Lemar, with Spurs plotting a loan move.

According to a report by French outlet Foot Mercato, Tottenham have joined Arsenal in the race to sign Thomas Lemar from Atletico Madrid in the January transfer window. The Premier League heavyweights are looking to sign the French winger on an initial loan deal with an option to buy him in the summer.

Lemar was one of the players who made their name during AS Monaco’s shock Ligue 1 triumph in the 2016-17 season. Since then, however, the French international has struggled to match up to the highs of the stirring campaign, and things have only gone from bad to worse since he joined Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2018.

In the 18 months that he has been in the Spanish capital, Lemar has made 64 appearances for the Colchoneros, but has a paltry return of 3 goals and 6 assists to show for his efforts. In fact, Diego Simeone has publicly admitted this week that Lemar has not lived up to the expectations and it looks as if a January exit is on the horizon. Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in the player.

Arsenal? Tottenham? What will it be for Lemar? (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Arsenal? Tottenham? What will it be for Lemar? (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has taken charge at Arsenal and is set to make some definitive changes to the squad. One area he seems keen on addressing is attack and in particular, the left wing. Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson seem to be quality players to be deployed on the right flank, but there is very little in way of natural options for the left wing.

So far in the three matches that Arteta has overseen, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been used on the left flank, with Gabriel Martinelli another striker who can be a makeshift left winger. Arteta, though, is reportedly keen on signing someone more naturally accustomed to the position, making Lemar a viable target to that end. Tottenham, though, will provide stiff competition in his pursuit.

Jose Mourinho does have quality wide men in the form of Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela. However, with Lamela out injured, the Tottenham manager has not been able to rotate much. And, in Son’s recent absence, he has even had to deploy Moussa Sissoko out wide. As a result, the interest in Lemar makes sense.

Arsenal are reportedly ready to sign the 24-year-old on a permanent move, but Tottenham only have resources for an initial loan move. Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, would prefer cashing in on the underperforming Frenchman. However, their desire to recover most of their €72 million outlay will likely prove to be a stumbling block.

It now remains to be seen if Arsenal can reach a compromise over a transfer fee with Atletico Madrid, or if Tottenham’s proposal of an initial loan move followed by a summer move appeals to Los Rojiblancos instead. For now, what appears certain is that Thomas Lemar’s days at the Wanda Metropolitano are numbered.

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