Arsenal Eyes Elite Talent: Ousmane Diomande
Arsenal’s hunt for young, world-class footballers shows no sign of waning. With their gaze now firmly set on Sporting’s Ousmane Diomande, the footballing circles are abuzz. The Gunners’ rejuvenated transfer strategy under the watchful eyes of Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar has seen them welcoming some of the most promising youngsters. Fabio Vieira and Martin Odegaard being shining examples.
A New Dawn in North London
After a significant Champions League absence, Arsenal has re-emerged as a top-notch European hotspot for emerging footballers. Their intentions to continue this trend are evident in their interest in Diomande. Recent Portuguese reports highlight that the young star, who had a face-off with Arsenal in the Europa League, was on the Gunners’ radar last summer. Dubbed an ‘elite talent’, the whispers in the wind suggest a £30 million bid was tabled for the defender. Sporting, the 19-time Portuguese champions, however, didn’t find the bid alluring.
Yet, hope floats. Speculations are rife that Arsenal might rekindle their interest in Diomande, either in the upcoming January window or the summer of 2024.
Dean Jones Weighs In
“There’s always a quest for evolution and the best young talent,” says Dean Jones when quizzed about the Diomande-Arsenal link. Jones acknowledges Diomande’s instrumental role in Sporting’s recent rise in the Portuguese league, noting, “He’s not just on Arsenal’s radar. Many teams are keenly observing his growth at Sporting.” He revealed to GiveMeSport.
Jones further adds, “The Premier League has always eyed this league and Sporting, in particular. Diomande’s current form and comfort in a high-performing team might make one wonder about his potential move. Yet, Arsenal’s interest makes complete sense given his profile.”
Unravelling Diomande: The Rising Star
Arsenal fans who witnessed their team’s Europa League encounter against Sporting have had a taste of Diomande’s prowess. His impressive 120-minute stint in that last-16 duel, followed by his participation in both legs against Juventus, speaks volumes.
The stats are equally impressive. With 34 appearances and more than 2,440 minutes of action for Sporting the previous season (as per Transfermarkt), the young Ivorian is turning heads. His agility on both sides of the defence and exceptional tackling ability place him in FBref’s top 10% of tacklers in his position.
Yet, it’s his ball-handling that’s truly spectacular. As per FBref, among central defenders, Diomande ranks astonishingly in the top one percentile for passes attempted, averaging over 80 per match. Such dexterity aligns perfectly with Arteta’s vision for the Emirates Stadium.
The Price Tag Hurdle
Diomande’s prowess doesn’t come without its challenges. His commitment to Sporting until 2027 sets a considerable barrier for Arsenal. Securing this gem would mean agreeing to a hefty price tag. However, considering his meteoric rise in professional football, this investment might just be the one that pays rich dividends for the Gunners.