Arsenal have reportedly ‘promised to return’ for Sporting CP centre-back Ousmane Diomande after having a 35m euro offer knocked back over the summer, according to news coming out of Portugal.
The French centre-back only made his debut for the Liga NOS outfit in February this year after completing a move from FC Midtjylland in January, but has earned rave reviews in the time since.
Diomande was impressive in both legs against Arsenal as he helped Sporting knock them out of the Europa League at the last 16 stage via a penalty shoot-out, and the Gunners are now keen to sign him again.
They lost out to Sporting in January, seeing a 10m euro bid of their own knocked back for the French centre-back, who opted to move to Lisbon rather than London.
As per Record in Portugal (print version), Mikel Arteta’s side saw a 35m euro bid for the 19-year-old turned down over the summer, but have ‘promised’ to return in 12 months’ time.
For their part, Sporting are keen to resist any possibility of letting him leave, and are ready to offer Diomande a wage hike to remain in Lisbon. He is under contract until 2027, and the club are under no pressure to sell.
As a result, they are also pointing interested parties to his 80m euro (£70m) release clause should they want to try and prise him out of Lisbon, a fee which could be a major stumbling block for the Gunners.
Arteta’s side are keen to add cover for William Saliba at the heart of defence, with Rob Holding having joined Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day.
They have Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, both of whom can play at centre-back but the pair are both preferred to play in the fullback positions.
With Saliba himself just 22-years-old, the arrival of compatriot Diomande would leave Arsenal set in that position for the next decade, but it would come at a massive cost.