Arsenal and Man Utd to open talks over deal for Sporting star Ousmane Diomande

    Arsenal and Manchester United are expected to open talks with Sporting CP over a deal to sign centre-back Ousmane Diomande this summer, as per CaughtOffside

    The 20-year-old has been a key player for Sporting since switching from Danish side, FC Midtjylland last summer – making 26 appearances to help Ruben Amorim’s side clinch the Primeira Liga title.

    Diomande’s performances have caught the eye of clubs here in the Premier League with CaughtOffside reporting that Arsenal and Man Utd are showing a keen interest in the Ivory Coast international ahead of the summer.

    The report says both clubs are ready to ‘make contact’ with Sporting to discuss a deal for Diomande but they face further competition as Newcastle United and Chelsea are also keen on the 1.90m defender.

    Diomande is ready for a Premier League move next summer, but with his contract at the Estádio José Alvalade set to run until June 2027, the youngster does not have control over any transfer.

    The Lions are determined to keep the Ivorian and will demand the likes of Arsenal and Man Utd meet his €80m (£68m) release clause, according to the report.

    Modern-day defender

    Arsenal have boasted the best defence in the Premier League this season so it’s difficult to see them paying £68m for a player who will be back-up for William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.

    However, United’s defensive lapses were laid bare in their 1:0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday, where Arsenal penetrated United’s penalty area with ease to carve out 16 total attempts despite not being at their best.

    While injuries to first-choice defenders may have played a role in United’s disastrous defensive record, the lack of quality depth at the bench has left United with no option than utilizing Casemiro in an unfamiliar centre-back role.

    Hence, Erik Ten Hag needs to carry out a defensive revamp by bringing in top-quality centre-backs to compete for a starting position and also provide defensive cover when called upon.

    Diomande possesses all the characteristics of a modern-day centre-back, from proficiency in playing out from the back, to asserting aerial dominance, and leaving no prisoners when it comes to tackling.

    The Ivorian defender suits the profile of Ten Hag’s transitional football system and could form a formidable partnership with a fully fit Lisandro Martinez.

    Paying his £68m release clause shouldn’t be a problem for INEOS, but European qualification may pose a threat to winning the race for the player ahead of rivals such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle.

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