Arsenal begin talks to sign Sporting CP defender Ousmane Diomande, Chelsea also interested

Arsenal are pondering over a summer bid for Sporting CP defender Ousmane Diomande but face competition from London rivals Chelsea.

Ousmane Diomande

Ousmane Diomande, 20, arrived at Sporting CP in a €12.5 million deal from Danish side FC Midtjylland in January 2022 and has made an instant impact in Portugal, attracting plenty of suitors. The five-cap Ivory Coast international has a £ 68.6 million release clause in his contract, while FC Midtjylland hold a 20 per cent sell-on clause as part of their agreement with the Portuguese side.

Earlier this month, Arsenal had scouts in the stands to watch Sweden striker Viktor Gyokeres in action for Sporting CP against Benfica. However, Diomande reportedly caught the attention of the Gunners’ scouts with a superb defensive display, helping his team gain a 2-1 advantage over rivals Benfica in the semi-final first leg of the Taca de Portugal.

In the summer, a bidding war could erupt for the 20-year-old Ivorian, with Chelsea likely to rival Arsenal for his signature.

Arsenal join battle with Chelsea for Ousmane Diomande

Arsenal appear in the hunt for defensive reinforcements, as Mikel Arteta would ideally love to have four central defenders to start the 2024/25 campaign. In William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Jakub Kiwior, Arteta has three senior central defenders. While Ben White remains an option, the Gunners boss has transformed him into a reliable right-back over the last two seasons.

The north London club have been keeping tabs on Diomande for quite some time and even went as far as to make contact with his family over a possible move to the Emirates Stadium during the January transfer window.

Meanwhile, Chelsea will require a top young central defender to replace veteran Thiago Silva at the end of the season. The Brazilian’s contract is up in June and should be replaced adequately. With the Blues having looked vulnerable at the back throughout the campaign, they would do well to sign one of the most highly-rated young defenders in Europe in Diomande.

However, Diomande has a long-term contract at Sporting, so they are ideally in no rush to sell their star defender. Arsenal and Chelsea must pay the £68.6million release clause if they want to sign the young centre-back, which could be quite steep for someone still in the development phase of his career.

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