Arsenal have been told they will need to fork out a ‘tempting offer’ to get a deal for Sporting Lisbon defender Ousmane Diomande over the line, according to reports.

The Gunners have already splashed out £208m on three players in the summer transfer window with Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice all joining Mikel Arteta’s side.

But there are expectations of a couple more arrivals at some point this summer after reports indicated before the transfer window that Arteta and technical director Edu were keen to bring in two midfielders, a forward, a centre-back and a right-back.

Timber can play at both centre-back and right-back and that opens up the possibility of one more addition in defence with Portuguese newspaper Record claiming Arsenal are very interested in Diomande at Sporting Lisbon.

Record claim Diomande ‘agitates the market’ with Arsenal – who made an attempt to sign him in January – approaching Sporting again over a potential deal.

Only a ‘tempting offer’ from Arsenal will convince Sporting to sell Diomande to the Premier League club with that likely to mean the Gunners must pay his release clause of €80m (£69m).

However, Arsenal are not alone in their pursuit of the Ivorian with ‘some top clubs in Europe’ also interested in buying the centre-back this summer.

Rice was the Gunners’ latest signing with the England international completing a £105m move from West Ham last week and former CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs has the inside track on how Arsenal got a deal over the line.

Jacobs wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Arsenal have their number one summer target in Declan Rice. For many months the now former West Ham captain only wanted Arsenal.


“In fact, even if Manchester City had matched the £105m package, Rice still would have picked Arsenal. That’s partly why City pulled out. Their only real hope was to trump Arsenal’s package, but instead it was the Gunners who bid big. This played right into West Ham’s hands, who wanted a bidding war.

“Back in January, Arsenal actually felt like £70-75m might be possible, especially with West Ham fighting relegation at the time. Arsenal have paid far more in the end, but they view the huge fee as an investment not an expense. They also didn’t want a repeat of the Mykhaylo Mudryk saga and to risk being outbid. I do think when they placed the £105m offer that was at the back of their mind.

“Arsenal knew Rice spoke glowingly of Mikel Arteta and ideally wanted to stay in London so that helped their cause. But Chelsea were in the mix as well up until January.

Graham Potter wanted Rice yet Chelsea moved for Enzo Fernandez instead. Rice was originally open to returning to Chelsea but just not sold by the pitch. And he always feared Potter wouldn’t be the manager he would end up playing under, and was ultimately proven right.

“Arteta was extremely hands on in the pitch presenting Rice with a lengthy presentation. This included how he would improve Rice’s attacking numbers even further. Rice was told he could get into double figures at Arsenal in terms of goal-scoring without necessarily changing his identity too much. This comes off the back of two seasons where Rice has scored five goals in all competitions.

“Arteta values Rice’s progressive passing, leadership and made it clear to the 24-year-old he would be a staple of the team for several seasons if all goes to plan.

“Rice also did his own homework speaking to Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka about Arsenal and Arteta. He even had a conversation with Arsenal legend Ian Wright.

“It was common knowledge heading into the summer window that Arsenal were frontrunners for Rice. Liverpool knew this, and didn’t ever move. They were focused on Jude Bellingham for much of the build up to this summer.

“The same potential outlay for Bellingham was not one they wanted to spend on Rice. From their perspective, it was just about having other targets and avoiding investing time on transfers with low success rate and high cost. Rice wanted Arsenal. Players don’t always get their top choices but in this case it was always likely he would only end up in one place.”


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