Arsenal are reportedly planning to make another move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Abdoulaye Diomande in the January transfer window. The Gunners had a £30m bid rejected for the 22-year-old in the summer, but are still keen on adding him to their squad.
Diomande’s release clause and contract situation
Diomande is one of the most promising young talents in Portugal, having joined Sporting from Lille in 2021. He has impressed with his energy, creativity and versatility, playing in various midfield roles for the Portuguese champions.
The Ivory Coast international has a release clause of £69m in his contract, which runs until 2026. However, Arsenal are hoping to negotiate a lower fee with Sporting, who are facing financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arsenal are not the only club interested in Diomande, as Manchester United, Liverpool and Juventus have also been linked with him. However, the Gunners are confident that they can persuade him to join them, as they can offer him regular playing time and a chance to work under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal’s midfield woes and targets
Arsenal have struggled to find a consistent and balanced midfield partnership this season, as they have been plagued by injuries, suspensions and poor form. Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny have all missed games due to various reasons, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been unhappy with his lack of opportunities.
The Gunners have also been linked with other midfielders, such as Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes, Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni and Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga. However, Diomande is believed to be their top priority, as they see him as a long-term replacement for Xhaka, who is expected to leave the club next summer.
Arsenal’s January transfer plans
Arsenal spent over £150m in the summer transfer window, bringing in six new players: Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Nuno Tavares, Sambi Lokonga and Takehiro Tomiyasu. The Gunners are unlikely to spend big again in January, but they are open to making one or two additions if the right opportunity arises.
Apart from Diomande, Arsenal are also looking for a striker, as they are set to lose Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe to the Africa Cup of Nations. The Gunners have been linked with Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic, Lazio’s Joaquin Correa and Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard.
Arsenal are also expected to trim their squad in January, as they have several players who are surplus to requirements or unhappy with their roles. Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson are among those who could leave the club either permanently or on loan.