Revealed: Chelsea & Arsenal scouting €80m AFCON star

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 14 Jan 2024 18:34 GMT
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea
© ProShots

Chelsea and Arsenal have reportedly both sent scouts to watch Sporting CP defender Ousmane Diomande in action for Ivory Coast during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The 20-year-old played 77 minutes during Ivory Coast’s 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau on the opening night of the tournament, before he was replaced by Nottingham Forest defender Willy Boly.

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Diomande is regarded as one of the best young talents currently playing in Portugal and FootballTransfers understands that he has been identified as a priority signing for Chelsea during the summer transfer window.

However, Arsenal are also interested and the Gunners seemingly view Diomande as potential competition for their first-choice centre-back pairing of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.

According to Portuguese outlet record (via CaughtOffside), Chelsea and Arsenal have decided to send scouts to AFCON in order to watch Diomande’s performances for his country.

The Sporting CP star has an €80 million release clause included in his current contract with the Lisbon-based outfit, although his Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) stands at just €13.4m, as per FootballTransfers’ in-house algorithm.

That low valuation is at least partly due to the fact Diomande has mustered just 55 senior appearances in his career.

Regardless, both Chelsea and Arsenal will have been left encouraged by the fact Diomande helped Ivory Coast seal a crucial clean sheet in their first game of this year’s AFCON.

Should Ousmane Diomande join Chelsea or Arsenal?

Ousmane Diomande, Sporting CP
© ProShots - Ousmane Diomande, Sporting CP

Both Chelsea and Arsenal already have issues that may present themselves to Diomande if he leaves Sporting.

Firstly, the former have a plethora of options at centre-back, namely Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill, Benoit Badiashile, Axel Disasi and Wesley Fofana. Bashir Humphreys and Alfie Gilchrist are two highly-rated Cobham academy graduates too, both of whom specialise in the middle of defence.

As for Arsenal, Diomande would likely be stuck behind Saliba and Gabriel in the pecking order, meaning regular game time may be hard to find.

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