Arsenal and Southampton miss out on potentially world-class talent for £7m

Premier League duo Southampton and Arsenal missed out on Ousmane Diomande ahead of his move to Sporting Lisbon, with the centre-back tipped by record to become a world-class defender in Portugal.

In just the last few years Sporting have bought up the likes of Pedro Porro, Pedro Goncalves and Bruno Fernandes before selling them on for a sizeable profit. The hope is that if Diomande can maintain his current pace in the Portuguese capital, he will soon follow the same path as, say, Manchester United’s talisman number eight.

Sporting signed Diomande from FC Midtjylland in January for around £7m; wasted no time in including a £70million release clause in his contract.

Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

And if Amza Gamal is right, it won’t be long before this clause tempts some of Europe’s financially strongest clubs.



Sporting Lisbon beat Arsenal and Southampton against Ousmane Diomande

“Diomande started training here when he was ten years old,” says OS Bobo boss Gamal, president of the club where Diomande started his career in Ivory Coast.

“He is very technical and shows a lot of intelligence in short and long passes. He has good anticipation. In addition to these qualities, he also has speed and is efficient in his duels.

“Sporting is a great European club that plays good football. I’m convinced that Diomande will continue to develop and be one of the best central defenders in the world.”

According to Portuguese reporter Bruno Andrade, Arsenal showed interest before Diomande came to terms with the 2021 Primeira Liga champions. Under sporting director Edu Gaspar, the Gunners are proud to have signed some of the most exciting young talent, but Diomande will not be following in the footsteps of Gabriel Martinelli and company.

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A Bola, meanwhile, says another club with a track record in youth development – Southampton – also scouted Diomande during his impressive loan spell at CD Mafra in Portugal’s second division.

“I see the interest of several clubs as something very natural,” says Mafra coach Ricardo Sousa. “He’s above average quality and I don’t think his quality will stop there.

“He’s a fast player, very aggressive and can play with the right or left foot. But he needs to evolve and be humble.”

Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

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