Arsenal keen to sign £69m ‘elite talent’ who may be Arteta’s own Cristian Romero

Arsenal are in the hunt to sign Sporting defender Ousmane Diomande.

According to Portuguese publication Record (03/12/2023, page 14), Arsenal are long-term admirers of Sporting centre-back Ousmane Diomande, who has a release clause worth €80 million – equivalent to around £69 million.
Despite being just 19-years-old, Diomande has already established himself as a key figure in the heart of the Portuguese club’s defensive unit. He is every inch the modern centre-back, blending physicality with blistering pace and a high level of technical ability.

Mikel Arteta could do with adding another centre-back to his squad. With Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu preferred in full-back roles, there is not a great deal of strength in depth beyond the first choice pairing of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba.

As a fellow left-footer, Jakub Kiwior is a solid natural back up for Gabriel, and Diomande’s arrival would likewise ease the burden on Saliba. The Sporting teenager has all the attributes required to emulate Saliba’s tactical function at the Emirates Stadium, and would surely learn a great deal as the Frenchman’s understudy.
When will Arsenal move to sign Ousmane Diomande?

However, Arteta may have some reservations about Diomande, given his age. Whilst the Spanish coach has shown a willingness to invest in youth in his time as Arsenal boss, it would be a huge ask for a teenage centre-back to play a role for a title-chasing Premier League side, having never tested himself in English football before.

If Arteta is willing to gamble on Diomande, though, and be patient with him, then the upsides could be huge. The once-capped Ivory Coast international has been dubbed an “elite talent” by Football Talent Scout, and has even been compared to Tottenham Hotspur star Cristian Romero by the same publication.
Whether or not Arsenal are able to strike a deal for Diomande in the upcoming January transfer window remains to be seen. The Gunners will only have a modest budget available to them this winter. They are also looking to invest in other areas of the pitch. Several strikers are currently being considered. Meanwhile, a number of midfield options are being looked at, as upgrading in the middle of the park is seen as a matter of priority.

As such, any move for Diomande may well be pushed back to the summer. Sporting would likely be more willing to part with the player at that point, too.

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