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Arsenal ready to match Chelsea offer for one of the best defenders in Europe

Arsenal are set to go toe-to-toe with London rivals Chelsea for the signing of a highly-rated young defender.

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Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar
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Reports have emerged suggesting that Arsenal are ready to battle London rivals Chelsea for one of the most highly-rated young defenders in the world.

Sporting CP defender Ousmane Diomande has attracted interest from Europe’s top clubs for the last several years, dating back to his time with FC Midtjylland in Denmark.

The 20-year-old had been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea throughout the past few transfer windows, but a move has yet to materialise and new reports suggest that Arsenal will battle their London rivals for his signature.

Since the departures of Rob Holding and Pablo Mari, Arsenal have not recruited an out-and-out central defender, meaning that invaluable depth could well be behind the Gunners’ desire to battle Chelsea for Diomande.


Ousmane Diomande - Arsenal & Chelsea

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Reports in the Portuguese outlet ‘Record’ have suggested that Sporting will demand a fee of at least £51.5m (€60m) for the Ivorian, which represents a significant outlay, especially given Arsenal’s existing defensive quality.

The report also suggested that Arsenal have already communicated their desire to sign Diomande to both Sporting and the player’s entourage which, if true, shows real intent from the Gunners.

Arsenal are said to be ready to match the £51.5million valuation, after scouting the defender throughout the Portuguese season and at AFCON.

At six foot two inches tall, Diomande has earned plaudits for both his physical capabilities, as well as his aerial dominance which has seen him become an incredibly important player for Rúben Amorim’s side.

As a right-footed player, he would likely offer cover for William Saliba, if a move to Arsenal materialises, though it is difficult at this moment to envisage anybody displacing the Frenchman from his starting role.

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