Newcastle move to destroy Arsenal transfer plans by making ‘contact’ for major signing

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Arsenal will find it harder to sign a £69million-rated star in 2024 as Newcastle United have joined them and Chelsea in pursuing him, according to a report.

The transfer window is now open and clubs up and down the Premier League will be evaluating their squads to see which positions need strengthening ahead of the second half of the campaign. And it seems Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has identified central defence as an area for improvement.

Arteta can currently rely on William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes as his first-choice defensive pairing, with Jakub Kiwior and Takehiro Tomiyasu also able to deputise there. Arsenal signed versatile defender Jurrien Timber in the summer, but he has missed a majority of the season after tearing his ACL early on.

Arsenal’s hopes of picking up major silverware would be rocked by an injury to either Saliba or Gabriel. Therefore, the Gunners are trying to snare Sporting CP player Ousmane Diomande.

In December, it was revealed that Chelsea had been in touch with Sporting as they look to sign both Diomande and his striker team-mate Viktor Gyokeres. But on Monday, Arsenal made a move of their own by opening initial talks with the 20-year-old’s camp.

Football Insider have now provided an update on Diomande’s potential transfer out of Portugal. They state that the two London clubs will face competition from Newcastle for the deal, as Eddie Howe’s side have ‘made contact’ with Diomande’s entourage as well.

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Newcastle are ‘ready to battle’ Arsenal for his capture. Although, the report adds that it is more likely Diomande will be on the move at the end of the season, as neither Arsenal or Newcastle can afford to make a big splash this month due to Financial Fair Play rules.

Sporting have been very clever, tying the Ivorian down to a long-term contract – which runs until June 2027 – and giving him a huge £69m release clause. And they want that fee to be paid in full before sanctioning his move to the Premier League.

Newcastle, Arsenal both in for Ousmane Diomande
Newcastle and Arsenal do not have the funds to match such an asking price this month, though it is hoped that they will have more room for manoeuvre come the summer.

Signing Diomande would bolster Newcastle’s centre-back ranks. Howe has Sven Botman, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Dan Burn eligible to play there, but there is one big reason why a swoop for Diomande would make sense.

Botman is the only one of those players under the age of 30, which means Newcastle need to future-proof the position. And Diomande appears to be a great solution, as he is only 20 years old but is already playing at a high level.

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