Arsenal may not yet be battling Manchester City for the Premier League crown but the two clubs are set to go head to head in the race to sign Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo, according to the Sun.
The 22-year-old has caught the eye with his performances in La Liga, where he is the division’s highest scoring defender for 2018.
That form has seen him earn a Spain Under-21 call-up and attracted attention from the Premier League, with Newcastle United and Crystal Palace also both reportedly interested in his signature.
As recently as August, Firpo signed a new long-term contract with Betis, which runs until 2023 and contains a £45m release clause; which may well price out the relegation battlers and make it a two-horse race between Arsenal and City.
There were rumours in July that Arsenal’s first-choice left-back Nacho Monreal was set for a return to Spain, but they came to nothing.
But with Monreal’s Gunners contract due to run out this summer, spending such big money on Firpo would give the Spaniard an almighty shove towards the Emirates Stadium exit door.
Like Monreal, Firpo can also operate at centre-half and has an unlikely eye for goal, so he seems an almost like-for-like replacement.
Emery surely does not need both men, so beating Arsenal beating City to land Firpo would move Monreal closer to leaving north London.