Hernanes Reportedly Set to Spark Transfer Battle Between Arsenal and Tottenham

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 15, 2013

REGGIO EMILIA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 29:  Anderson Hernanes # 8 of SS Lazio (R) competes the ball with Karim Laribi # 21 of US Sassuolo Calcio during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo Calcio v SS Lazio at Mapei Stadium on September 29, 2013 in Reggio Emilia, Italy.  (Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)
Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Arsenal and Tottenham are set to do battle once more in January, with the Daily Star's Nick Lustig reporting that the North London duo are going to target Lazio playmaker Hernanes.

Hernanes, 28, is regarded as one of Serie A's best midfielders, but the report says he will not be signing a new contract in Rome, with a view to moving on.

Per Lustig, that development has piqued the interest of both Premier League clubs:

Arsenal and Tottenham target Hernanes is unlikely to extend his contract at Lazio as he eyes up a move away from the Stadio Olimpico.

The Brazilian playmaker has been one of the most impressive performers in Serie A since joining the Biancocelesti from Sao Paolo in 2010.

Hernanes' performances have not gone unnoticed with Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas interested in acquiring his services.

Besides his excellence over recent seasons, one aspect that makes Hernanes a particularly attractive addition is that the Brazilian is capable of filling a number of midfield roles.

He can play as the No. 10 central playmaker, he can play in a more withdrawn hybrid role—as identified here by B/R's Sam Tighe—and also as a deep-lying playmaker in a double pivot.

While Lazio have preferred to use him in more advanced areas, where he is most effective, Brazil tend to use Hernanes deeper given their lack of a quality distributor at the base of midfield.

Arsenal are already overloaded with midfielders, and while Hernanes would undoubtedly improve their options, he certainly would not solve the Gunners' issue regarding the lack of a top defensive midfielder.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have plenty of midfielders also, but could still have great use for a Hernanes-style player. They have defensive midfielders, box-to-box players and a fine No. 10 in Christian Eriksen, but they sometimes lack the hybrid-style midfielder to link play from deep.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Christian Eriksen of Spurs celebrates scoring their third goal with Kyle Naughton of Spurs during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Tromso IL at White Hart Lane on September 19, 2013 in
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Neither would seem to have glaring holes in midfield, but Hernanes is a special talent that, if available, teams across Europe will look to accommodate.

Both sides also look set to spend in January as they seek to consolidate their positions in the Premier League's top four.

"I don't rule it out at all, but—saying that—I don't want to encourage more speculation," Wenger commented regarding January spending, per Gary Jones of the Daily Star. Tom Collomosse of the Independent, meanwhile, suggests Tottenham will look to sign Manchester United's Javier Hernandez.

Both clubs' excellent financial management over recent seasons leaves them in a strong position in the transfer market, while many clubs around Europe suffer. With Champions League football on the line, both will likely continue to spend once the market reopens on January 1.