The North London rivalry promises to flare up off the pitch this January after it came to light that Arsenal's hopes of signing Julian Draxler may rest on whether Tottenham are willing to sell one of their assets.
Lewis Holtby was brought to White Hart Lane last January but has struggled to adapt to the Premier League, opening the possibility of a winter exit after just 12 months with Spurs.
His agent, Marcus Noack, recently told German daily Bild (h/t talkSPORT) that a return to Schalke was under consideration:
"Lewis is desperate to play, which is why we are looking intensively for solutions. Schalke is an interesting option."
However, the Mirror's Darren Lewis reports that Daniel Levy is aghast to the idea of helping the Gunners land another coup, just five months after the sale of Gareth Bale helped facilitate Arsene Wenger's £42.5 million swoop for Mesut Ozil.
An excerpt from Lewis' report reads:
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is set to veto Lewis Holtby’s move to Schalke – because he doesn’t want to help Arsenal land Julian Draxler.
Schalke want a loan deal for their old boy Holtby as a replacement for Draxler, after admitting they could not stand in the way if a club triggered the 20-year-old’s £37million release clause this month.
General manager Horst Heldt said: “We are still hopeful Julian (Draxler) is to stay on at our club. However, there are certain arrangements we cannot change.”
Holtby left the Veltins-Arena as something of a crowd favourite for the Miners, but the midfielder has dropped out of the spotlight since moving to Tottenham, making just six Premier League starts this season, according to Transfermarkt.co.uk.
Draxler is currently on the injured list in Gelsenkirchen, but Sky Sports News' Dirk Schlaarmann (according to a post from former Bundesliga player Jan Aage Fjortoft on his Twitter account) says that the German international is slated for a return by mid-February:
Reliable German journalist @Sky_Dirk who follows Schalke says Julian Draxler will be back middle of February.— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) January 15, 2014
Spurs aren't vying for the same high honours as their North London rivals this term and currently sit eight points lower than Arsenal, in sixth.
However, strengthening the Gunners' bid to end a decade-long silverware drought clearly isn't on Levy's agenda.
Though one can't fault the chairman for his club loyalties, it's a fine line that Levy treads. Holtby's exit could benefit not only the player, but also Tim Sherwood if funds are released to add to his squad.
However, The Mirror's John Cross is of the belief that things won't be as simple as Holtby coming in as Draxler's replacement:
Lewis Holtby. From Twitter sensation to Tottenham flop to Julian Draxler replacement. Come on, let's be serious.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 16, 2014
Draxler has been fielded in a more unnatural position on the left wing this term but is more accustomed to playing through the middle, in a similar area of the pitch to the one Ozil now occupies at the Emirates Stadium.
Holtby's lack of involvement this season doesn't put him on quite the same level as the £37 million-valued Schalke prodigy, but the German club nevertheless need a player who can fill the potential void left by Draxler.
The deal makes sense for two of the three parties, with Wenger surely happy to add another young, creative talent to his ranks, but it seems Levy's Tottenham may yet block the deal from taking place.