Brighton were dealt the unfortunate news this week that Tariq Lamptey will not play again this season.
The right-back has been out of action with a hamstring issue since December. He underwent an operation at the weekend to repair the issue, but he is unlikely to recover before the end of the season.
Lamptey had arguably been Brighton’s player of the season until his injury. He has shone ever since he signed from Chelsea in January 2020.
The 20-year-old has one goal and one assist in his 11 league appearances this season. He was averaging 1.1 key passes, 3.5 dribbles and 3.06 tackles and interceptions per 90. These are all superb numbers for someone so young.
By the time he is in his mid-20’s, Lamptey should be one of the very best fullbacks in the world.
While Brighton is the perfect place for him to develop right now, proven by the new contract he signed in January, he will outgrow the Seagulls in the next few years. A top club should come in for him sooner rather than later.
Right-back is a position that teams should try to gain solidity in for the long-term. The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona all have elite young prospects there that should cement themselves into their respective sides for the next decade.
Lamptey is going to be one of the few remaining world-class right-backs left for other top sides to sign.
Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus could all do with improvements in the position, but they are more likely to buy the finished article rather than gambling on a youngster.
So, we will take a look at three more clubs that need a young right-back that could potentially take a punt on the Englishman.
The first, and possibly most likely, suggestion we have for Lamptey is Arsenal.
Lamptey has been linked to the Gunners in recent times as questions continue to be asked about Hector Bellerin’s future at the club.
The current Arsenal No 2 has been with the club since 2011, making his first-team debut in 2013. Unfortunately for Arsenal, consistency has been an issue for the Spaniard, which is a pity considering his obvious talent.
Injury has had a massive part to play in his inconsistent form, but either way, he may not be the same player that he looked like becoming a few years ago. Practically every element of his game has declined this season, including creativity, defensive output, and dribbling ability.
One possibility is that Bellerin moves to PSG, who he has been linked to by CBS. The less physically-challenging Ligue 1 would suit him, while PSG are in need of a big-name right-back.
This would pave the way for Lamptey to take his place in the Arsenal backline.
Aside from his obvious quality, his homegrown status would also make him an attractive option. In fact, Lamptey grey up just an hour away from the Emirates Stadium.
If Arsenal want to get back to the top under Mikel Arteta, securing a potentially world-class, homegrown right-back would be a good way to go about it.
With the likes of Gabriel, Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli in the squad, the Gunners have a number of extremely talented youngsters set to peak at the same time.
Tariq Lamptey would be the ideal next piece in the jigsaw.
If Arsenal decide against moving for Lamptey, then perhaps their local rivals will.
However, it is important to state that Tottenham signing Tariq Lamptey is extremely unlikely while Jose Mourinho is in charge. The Portuguese boss is certainly not going to go for a 20-year-old attack-minded fullback to solve his problems.
So while Lamptey is definitely not a Mourinho-style player, the chances are that Mourinho will actually be gone in the next year or two. If an attack-minded coach joins them, then Lamptey will become a realistic and sensible target.
The joint threat of Lamptey and Sergio Reguillon bombing down the flanks would be frightening.
Current incumbents Matt Doherty and Serge Aurier aren’t good enough for a team looking to win titles. This is proven by the fact that they have been rotated this season, with neither gaining Mourinho’s full trust.
So Spurs need to sell at least one of the pair and sign a new right-back. Ideally, wait for Mourinho to move on to avoid signing another ageing one, which he will undoubtedly request.
If Daniel Levy can think long-term, then Tariq Lamptey is certainly a player that he should be after.
Finally, we present the most exciting suggestion – champions of Germany, Europe and the world, Bayern Munich.
The German side have made no secret whatsoever of their desire to sign a young natural right-back. They pushed hard for Sergino Dest before he joined Barcelona, while Max Aarons was also strongly linked.
Joshua Kimmich has moved to midfield permanently. Benjamin Pavard started well at the club but has flattered to deceive between injury absences lately, and is more of a centre-back anyway. Bouna Sarr is clearly not the answer and may be moved on after just one season in Bavaria.
Niklas Sule has deputized there recently, but he is certainly not at home out wide.
Bayern’s interest in Aarons has ceased, so they may look at another young English right-back instead.
Germany has been a successful breeding ground for young English talent in recent years. Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham have proven that a move to the Bundesliga is an excellent option for young English talent.
Bayern themselves tried to sign Max Aarons and Callum Hudson-Odoi, while they did sign Jamal Musiala, who, like Lamptey and Hudson-Odoi, came through the Chelsea academy.
Musiala may have decided to represent Germany since then, but it is evidence that Bayern are not afraid to try and recruit young English talent.
For Lamptey, there may not be a better club to go to. He would win trophies and probably become one of the best right-backs in the world.
Isn’t that all anyone would want?