Journey To The Elite: Ousmane Diomande
Diamonds aren’t forever when it comes to Sporting CP. In the case of Diomande, they’re looking for a king’s ransom.
The Primeira Liga contains some of Europe’s most flawless talents. Compared to other countries, their tremendous ability to generate huge profit from player sales is unrivalled.
Benfica conjured up £300m profit across the last five years through selling the likes of Joao Felix and Enzo Fernandez. Braga have manufactured a cool £170m for themselves over the last decade.
One of Portugal’s biggest sides, Sporting CP are without doubt one of the best ‘feeder’ clubs in world football. Their ability to scout hidden gems and sell for large profit is very impressive.
The Leões have managed to generate £200m over the last five years, with Bruno Fernandes, Nuno Mendes and Matheus Nunes commanding big fees.
However in some cases Sporting haven’t made as large a fee as they should. Joao Palhinha and Raphinha left for under £40m combined. It can be argued that a harder bargain would’ve been driven by Benfica or Porto.
With this in mind, Sporting appear to be showing a tougher stance in securing their young talent’s future. Pedro Goncalves and Goncalo Inacio recently signed new deals with 80 and 60 million euro buyout clauses.
Another player they’re looking to avoid an ordeal with is central defender Ousmane Diomande. The 19 year-old is on the radar of Arsenal, Juventus, Man City and Monaco. Sporting appear untamed by any interest, with the club demanding Diomande’ s release clause of £70m as the only entertainable offer. It would make the former FC Midtjylland man their record sale.
Why is Diomande rated so highly?
A colossal centre-half, Diomande dominates the backline with searing pace and elegance on the ball. The Ivory Coast international signed for £6.5m in January from FC Midtjylland after an impressive loan spell at Portuguese second tier team FC Mafra, who are owned by the Danish side.
Diomande fits perfectly into Ruben Amorim’s back three system on the right hand side with his progressive passing and ball carrying ability. The 6 foot 3 defender averaged an insane 91% pass accuracy per game in 22/23. Coupled with an 86% success rate in the opposition’s half and a 75% dribble completion, it’s not hard to see why Europe’s elite are circling.
In the event that the 19 year-old does depart, Arsenal look to be at the front of the queue. The gunner’s £30m summer bid proved too low as Arteta looked to fill in for long term absentee Jurrien Timber.
Diomande started in the side that surprisingly knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League last 16 back in March. His performance must have caught Mikel Arteta’s eye, with two tackles, four clearances and an outrageous 97% pass accuracy over 120 minutes.
The Ivorian appears well suited to the Spaniard’s modern style. Much like Timber and Ben White, Diomande can operate at centre half or as a right back. His ability to play off both feet makes him an adequate option to rotate with both Saliba and Gabriel.
Big Boys Circling
After failing to qualify for the Champions league for the first time in 3 years, the Portuguese side will struggle to hold off any future advances. On the positive side, Sporting have started the season well, sitting joint top of the league with Boavista.
Diomande looks more impressive than ever, scoring in a recent 3-0 win over Moreirense. Coupled with two team of the week inclusions, the centre back debuted for the Ivory Coast against Lesotho in the International break.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Sporting are driving such a hard bargain, particularly with English clubs involved.
Manchester City are known to be long term admirers. Sooner or later it looks like Chelsea will get involved, as Todd Boehly plots to acquire a stake in Sporting to use as a feeder club for the blues.
On the condition that Sporting stay firm in regards to the fee, it’s unlikely that any club will be able to entice Diomande until the summer. If Sporting go on to win the Liga Portugal that price tag may inflate another 10-15 million euros.
In the long run, Diomande has everything needed to become one of the best defenders in the modern game. His tactical flexibility and titan like stature makes him well deserving of becoming Sporting’s record sale down the line.
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