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Arsenal ‘prime candidates’ to agree deal for £68m talent, ‘contacts’ already made

Arsenal are leading Chelsea and Bayern Munich in the race to sign Sporting Lisbon defender Ousmane Diomande, according to Portuguese publication O Jogo.

The Gunners are long-term admirers of the 20-year-old centre-back and were initially interested in signing him when he played for FC Midtjylland.

Arsenal are reportedly prepared to ‘attack’ for the centre-back, who is expected to leave Sporting during the summer.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich have also been linked, but Arsenal are the prime candidates to sign Diomande. Sporting have been aware of their interest for some time.

The Gunners are prepared to take steps to secure his services ‘very soon’. There have already been ‘contacts’ between the parties ‘especially since January’.

Sporting are willing to sell Diomande for a fee close to his €80 million (£68m) release clause.

Arsenal could bolster defence further this summer

William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes are currently the undisputed starters in central defence, but manager Mikel Arteta may want to strengthen his options further.

Jakub Kiwior is the immediate back-up, but he has been unconvincing in the heart of the backline.

Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu are full-backs under Arteta, while Jurrien Timber has yet to impress after sustaining a serious knee injury in August last year.

The hierarchy may not want to rest on their laurels. Signing Diomande would be a huge statement and emphasise that no player can take his place for granted.

The Ivorian star would be a fine acquisition for Arsenal. He is strong with the ball at his feet and has excelled with his defensive contributions since joining Sporting.

Diomande averages 62 passes per game with an accuracy of 92 percent. He has won 66 percent of his duels per outing this term with 1.5 tackles and 1.4 clearances.

It appears a no-brainer for the Gunners to sign him. Although his asking price is on the high side, he has the potential to become an elite central defender.

Stats from

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