Premier League • England

Chelsea place full focus on £69.2m centre-back snare that’s entangled in Arsenal move

Goncalo Inacio, Ousmane Diomande, Sporting, December 2023

Chelsea have reportedly decided to put their full focus on £69.2million man Ousmane Diomande, but the expected sale of Goncalo Inacio means he won’t be available until the summer.

The Blues spent north of £200million on defenders last summer. That was followed by a season in which they conceded 47 times in the Premier League and finished 12th.

The natural reaction of chairman Todd Boehly was to splash the cash on another defender.

Axel Disasi came through the door at Stamford Bridge in a £38million move. Chelsea now have eight senior centre-backs in the squad, with 20-year-old academy player Alfie Gilchrist being elevated to play against Crystal Palace last time out.

But with regular starter Thiago Silva out of contract in the summer, the Blues are eyeing more defensive reinforcements. That’s amid a season in which the club have shipped 29 league goals.

The latest man to be courted by Chelsea is Sporting CP defender Diomande.

The Premier League side have reportedly contacted the Portuguese club to register their interest in both the centre-back and his teammate, striker Viktor Gyokeres.

Both men are protected by release clauses – Diomande’s is worth in the region of £69.2million.

Chelsea place full focus on Diomande

The Blues are are ready to put their full focus on him, too, as FootballTransfers reports they have made him a ‘priority signing’.

What’s more, that they will ‘have to’ pay his full release clause is reinforced in the report.

It’s also said that ‘preliminary meetings’ have been held regarding the transfer already.

However, it’s not expected that Diomande will move in January, there’s much more chance that Chelsea will have to wait until the summer.

Sporting won’t sell both Diomande, Inacio in January

Indeed, it’s reported it’s ‘unlikely any deal will come to fruition’ until then, as Sporting are ‘already bracing’ for the sale of Diomande’s centre-back partner Inacio in January.

Ruben Amorim, the club’s manager, does ‘not wish to see both leave’, especially given Sporting are flying high in Liga Portugal and losing two important assets in the middle of the season could be very detrimental.

It could be that Arsenal are the side stopping Chelsea from getting their move for Diomande over the line immediately.

Indeed, a recent report stated the Gunners are ‘best positioned’ to sign Inacio, ahead of Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Arsenal are way ahead of local rivals Chelsea in the Premier League, and could stop them from being able to strengthen their side in January, while they are able to strengthen their own.

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