Arsenal very attentive over Ousmane Diomande at AFCON

Arsenal are very attentive over how Ousmane Diomande performs for Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations, according to Record (today’s edition).

The London giants are long-term admirers of the centre-back and they were first interested in signing him from Norwegian side Midtjylland last winter.

The club were beaten to his signature by Sporting Lisbon. The Gunners made a fresh bid to sign him from Sporting last summer, but were unsuccessful again.

Mikel Arteta’s side proposed to pay €35 million (£30m) for the 20-year-old, but Sporting made it clear that he was not for sale for less than his €80m (£69m) release clause.

It is now reported that Arsenal are ‘very attentive’ over Diomande’s performances at AFCON and should ‘take notes’ on the defender during the tournament.

The Gunners are not alone in the player’s pursuit with Chelsea also monitoring him.

Arsenal could make summer move for Diomande

The Ivorian star has been a revelation for Sporting in the Primeira Liga. He has a passing accuracy of 91 per cent this season with 1.5 tackles and 5.7 recoveries per game.

Diomande has been most impressive with his aerial challenges in the box. He has won 72 per cent of his aerial duels and has traits which are quite similar to William Saliba.

A mid-season deal appears unlikely with Diomande not available for less than his buy-out clause. However, Sporting could be willing to negotiate during the summer.

Like Arsenal, rivals Chelsea also have financial problems of their own after their lavish spending over the last 18 months and they are unlikely to afford the defender this winter.

The Gunners should have a clear edge over the Blues in the pursuit of Diomande, given they are in a strong position to qualify for a second straight Champions League campaign.

The Blues are currently out of the European places in eighth and face an uphill battle to finish in the top four. They are already nine points adrift, having played one game more.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com & Sofascore.com

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