Arsenal have made a “promise to return” and make another bid for Sporting Lisbon defender Ousmane Diomande at the end of the season, according to Record.
The Portuguese tabloid claim that the Gunners had a €35m (£30m) offer turned down for the Ivorian during the summer transfer window but they have not cooled their interest in the player.
Diomande was on the London club’s radar even before he joined Sporting from FC Midtjylland at the start of this year. They would have got to see him in action up close too when he played against Mikel Arteta’s side in the Europe League last season.
The 19-year-old came on as a substitute in the first leg of the round of 16 tie back in early March before playing the full 120 minutes in the return fixture, as Sporting knocked out the Gunners on penalties.
Diomande has a sizeable release clause
When they bought the centre-back at the end of the January transfer window, Sporting included an €80m (£70m) buyout fee in his contract.
That puts the Portuguese club in a very strong negotiating position and Arsenal may have to pay a sizeable sum for a player who only cost €7.5m a matter of months ago.
Do Arsenal need another centre-back?
At the moment, the Gunners have four centre-halves in the first-team squad, including William Saliba, Ben White, Gabriel and Jakub Kiwior. However, both Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiysasu can also be deployed in that position if needed.
For that reason, it would be a surprise if they were to shell out a massive fee on a young defender. Diomande is clearly a very talented player with a lot of potential, so a lot may depend on whether the club feel the investment would be worthwhile in the long term.