Arsenal tracking French international winger as an ideal alternative to Mykhailo Mudryk

The Gunners have been left in an unexpected situation after the 21-year-old Ukrainian opted to join Chelsea after weeks of public postering over a move to north London, with Arteta and Edu now reportedly looking at Bayer Leverkusen for solutions

Premier League leaders Arsenal are still reeling after their protracted winter transfer saga involving 21-year-old Ukrainian starlet Mykhailo Mudryk ended in disaster after the gifted winger sealed a €100m move to domestic rivals Chelsea, forcing Mikel Arteta and club technical director Edu Gaspar to go back to the plotting table.

Desperate for investment before the January window slams shut, the Gunners are now left to source possible ready-made solutions in the wide areas after Mudryk - and João Félix - can both claim a new postal code. But according to reports in Germany, Arsenal are now linked with turning their attention toward Bayer Leverkusen and French international winger Moussa Diaby.

Per reports from Sky Germany’s Marc Behrenbeck, the 23-year-old goalscoring winger is now a “topic” of discussion among the Gunners’ hierarchy, but any possible deal for the former Paris Saint-Germain academy product would come at a significant cost.

Under terms with Die Werkself until 2025, Diaby’s current market value according to Transfermarkt stands at €50m (~£45m), and with over three years left on his current deal at the Bay Arena, prizing the Paris native out of Xabi Alonso’s senior setup would likely cost a similar figure to what Arsenal was willing to pay for Mudryk.

Diaby certainly fits the bill when it comes to the club’s recruitment profile, however, with the pacey and technically gifted wide man equally adept at being deployed on either flank while boasting a very credible direct return in the final third.

Since his arrival in North Rhine-Westphalia in the summer of 2019, Diaby has featured 146 times for the Bundesliga outfit across all competitions while sporting 84 direct contributions (43 goals, 41 assists) in that time frame, boasting a direct involvement rate of 0.58/90min while doing so in one of Europe’s top five leagues as well as in both the Champions League and Europa League.

With pedigree at the highest level in the European game, Arsenal would - in theory - have little concern with paying a figure similar to what they were prepared to part with over Mudryk for a player in Diaby that is more experienced while showing consistency in his return as well as being more versatile on the surface, without the need of additional seasoning.

Though an avenue of attack for the rest of the transfer window in north London remains unclear at current, what is certain, however, is that Arsenal must act in the final two weeks to avoid risking their impressive title charge faltering in similar fashion to their top-four push last term.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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