Arsenal are not the only team pursuing Sporting Lisbon centre-back Ousmane Diomande, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
“I’m told he’s a player they’ve been tracking for a long time, but it’s not only Arsenal. There are three or four clubs monitoring Diomande for the future, but it was never a negotiation this summer as he wasn’t for sale.”
It had been reported that Mikel Arteta’s side had a €35m (£30m) bid knocked back for Diomande during the summer transfer window, but Romano is saying no such offer was made, even though there is genuine interest in the player.
Diomande won’t be available on the cheap
When Sporting signed the defender from FC Midtjylland in January, they included a hefty release clause in the Ivorian international’s contract.
Diomande’s buyout fee currently stands at €80m (£70m), and it remains to be seen whether his club would accept an offer below that amount.
Which clubs would Arsenal have to fend off to secure his signature?
Before he made the switch to Portugal, Diomande was linked with a transfer to Manchester City so there is a decent chance that the Premier League champions are still monitoring the 19-year-old’s situation now.
However, after recently shelling out £77m on Josko Gvardiol, it would be a surprise if the Citizens were to make a move for another centre-back in the near future.
It should also be pointed out too that Arsenal are not exactly short of options in the middle of defence, with as many as six players in the first-team squad who can play the position.