Newcastle leading race for £68m-rated defender ahead of Arsenal & Chelsea | Football

Ousmane Diomande is enjoying a fantastic first full season at Sporting (Photo: Getty)

Newcastle United are reportedly leading the race for highly-rated defender Ousmane Diomande who is also a top transfer target for Arsenal and Chelsea.

Diomande has been linked with many of Europe’s top teams after bursting onto the scene at Sporting Lisbon this season, with his efforts putting the club on the verge of winning the Portuguese top-flight.

The 20-year-old was also part of the Ivory Coast squad which won the Africa Cup of Nations back in January.

Arsenal have been tracking the promising centre-back for some and reportedly had a £30million bid rejected last summer, but they have continued to scout him as well as Sporting teammate Viktor Gyokeres.

Chelsea have also shortlisted Diomande as they weigh up potential replacements for Thiago Silva who looks destined to leave Stamford Bridge when his contract expires in the summer.

But Portuguese news outlet A Bola claims that another Premier League is now the frontrunner to sign the wonderkid: Newcastle who are perhaps looking for a long-term replacement for Fabian Schar who turns 33 later this year.

The Magpies have been making enquiries into how much it would cost to sign Diomande who has a release clause worth €80m (£68.7m).

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Newcastle may be looking for Fabian Schar’s long-term replacement (Photo: Getty)

Given how stretched Newcastle’s finances are set to be in the next transfer market, they are hoping they can negotiate a smaller fee but that will be tricky as Diomande has a contract until 2027.

Moreover, his deal contains a a 20% sell-on clause which was added when he signed from Danish club Midtjylland in January 2023, meaning Sporting will want as much as possible from the sale.

It has been widely reported that Eddie Howe’s side will need to sell before they can buy, with prized midfielder Bruno Guimaraes linked with a £100m move to Arsenal or Manchester City.

City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus are also said to be in the race for Diomande’s signature.

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