Newcastle match Arsenal move with season-defining £88m winger transfer given critical lift

France winger Moussa Diaby

A difficult £88m winger transfer might be easier to make than first thought, though Arsenal have seen their efforts to secure the season-defining coup matched by Newcastle, per reports.

The Gunners’ primary target this month was Ukraine stand-out, Mykhaylo Mudryk. However, Chelsea are seemingly able to blow any and all sides out of the water financially at present and offered both a higher transfer fee and more lucrative personal terms.

Mudryk completed his move to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to push Chelsea’s January spend beyond £160m. Arsenal, meanwhile, have wasted little time in exploring alternatives.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres recently confirmed contact with the Gunners has been made. However, the 22-year-old Uruguay international lacks experience in the toughest leagues and is unlikely to make the type of immediate impact Mikel Arteta craves.

Elsewhere, a move for Barcelona’s Raphinha is unlikely to materialise due to the player’s desire to remain at the Camp Nou.

Leandro Trossard of Brighton looks a far more gettable target, though competition is being provided by Tottenham and Chelsea.

Spurs have already seen a £12m verbal offer rejected, while today’s Transfer Gossip shed light on Chelsea’s intentions.

None of Arsenal’s current options therefore appear straightforward. Another who now falls into that category is France superstar, Moussa Diaby.

The Bayer Leverkusen winger, 23, is a true livewire and is capable of operating on either flank. The left-footer has 43 goals and 41 assists since moving to Germany from PSG in 2019. His age also fits the profile of player Gunners chief Edu has targeted of late.

Sky Germany recently claimed Arsenal had made contact with Leverkusen, though Dharmesh Sheth of Sky Sports explained the difficulties involved in a move.

He reported Leverkusen had quoted clubs a whopping £88m over the summer. Given the likes of Antony and Mudryk have moved for similar fees since then, it stands to reason Leverkusen’ demands won’t have relaxed.

Furthermore, Sheth claimed the Bundesliga side ‘do not want to sell mid-season’.

However, a fresh report from the Daily Mail has explained why Diaby could depart Leverkusen this month, though Arsenal now have confirmed competition in the form of Newcastle.

Moussa Diaby could move, but to who?

Firstly, it’s stated the Magpies have matched Arsenal’s opening gambit by opening talks over a move. In their words, Newcastle have made a ‘fresh enquiry’ for the explosive forward.

Eddie Howe’s side are long-term admirers of Diaby and were heavily linked with a move last summer. Leverkusen’s high demands put them off, though Diaby’s arrival could be the difference between securing Champions League or Europa League football come season’s end.

For Arsenal, Diaby would give Arteta a fantastic new option on either side and give their quest for a first Premier League title since 2004 a major lift.

The Mail acknowledge a deal won’t be easy to make given Leverkusen’s desire to retain their star man. However, there might be a way.

Leverkusen are reportedly keen to raise much-needed funds from player sales this month with the club destined to miss out on European football next season. Xabi Alonso’s side currently lay in 12th position after a disastrous start to the campaign.

But in the event they’re unable to shift their lesser-fancied stars, the Mail note a Diaby sale cannot be ruled out as the window winds down.

What’s more, given the fact he’d command such a colossal fee, it stands to reason he and he alone would be able to solve their financial dilemma by moving.

EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle delay January transfer with quest to end 68-year trophy wait potentially hinging on Eddie Howe decision