Arsenal’s path to sign rumoured transfer target Malcom could be clear as north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly withdrawn from the race to sign the Bordeaux winger.

MailOnline’s Simon Jones said “Tottenham have opted to prioritise other targets,” adding “Malcom is high on Arsenal’s list of replacements” for contract rebel Alexis Sanchez, who is wanted by both Manchester City and Manchester United this month.

BBC Sport’s David Ornstein and Simon Stone also named Malcom as the “first choice” to replace Sanchez should the Chilean move on during the January transfer window.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger downplayed rumours Malcom is on his way to the club during a press conference, per Goal’s Chris Burton: “[Malcom] is a good player but nothing is happening. We are not on that case at the moment.”

However, BBC Sport’s Ian Dennis has revealed the Gunners remain in pole position to sign the gifted attacker.

Much will depend on what happens with Sanchez, with United said to have stolen a march on rivals City by putting together a more lucrative contract, per Sky Sports Italy (h/t Jacob Murtagh of the Daily Mirror).

Naturally, Wenger is keen to secure a replacement before letting Sanchez move to either half of Manchester, according to David Hytner of the Guardian. Winning the race for Malcom would be an obvious way for Wenger to offset the loss of his squad’s best player.

Still just 20, Malcom is valued at a hefty £45 million—a price tag seemingly unable to put Arsenal off making a move for the Brazilian.

Having one less suitor to compete with will only increase the Gunners’ already strong chances of pulling off a deal for one of the more precocious talents in Ligue 1.

Malcom‘s creative instincts and keen eye for goal have been proved by seven goals and four assists in the French top flight this season, while he’s versatile enough to play anywhere across the front.

He wouldn’t offer the immediate match-winning star-power Sanchez would take with him, but Malcom is the kind of burgeoning youngster Wenger would soon develop into a marquee performer.

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