Arsenal are interested in signing Brest midfielder Ibrahima Diallo– dubbed the new N’Golo Kante– according to reports originating in France.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed an excellent first campaign at the Ligue 1 club after signing from Monaco last summer – with Diallo’s performances during the truncated 2019-20 season earning comparisons with Chelsea’s defensive midfield star Kante.
Diallo featured for Chambray-Les-Tours academy sides for seven years prior to signing for the moneybag Monegasques at the age of 15.
Unable to break into the first team on a regular basis the Tours-born French U20 international joined Brest on loan, before the Brittany-based outfit signed him on a four-year deal last summer.
With Diallo’s contract at the Stade Francis le Ble due to run out in two summers, Brest are resigned to his exit - with Arsenal monitoring the situation.
Yet, funds are tight in north London, with the Gunners short on cash due to a significant shortfall in matchday and TV revenue streams following the coronavirus pandemic – despite Mikel Arteta successfully arbitrating a 12.5 per cent pay cut from the majority of his squad.
While a relatively low bid of around £16m could yet land ‘the new Kante’ - with the Emirates seen as a more viable option than previous suitors Leicester – Arsenal could yet face competition from La Liga, as Sevilla’s sporting director Monchi is studying the situation intently.
Another player Arsenal are said to be interested in signing is Real Betis and France midfielder Nabil Fekir– with a number of reports suggesting head of football Raul Sanllehi is keen to take the 26-year-old on loan.
However, with money tight at the Emirates, the north Londoners face stiff competition from Serie A giants AC Milan who can offer a permanent deal.