Arsenal have made initial contact with Bayer Leverkusen over French winger Moussa Diaby, after missing out on Mykhailo Mudryk.
Leverkusen do not want to sell the 23-year-old mid-season, having quoted €100m (£88.5m) to interested clubs in the summer.
Diaby’s contract in Germany runs until the summer of 2025. He has been at Leverkusen since 2019, when he signed from boyhood side Paris Saint-Germain.
The winger has eight caps for France’s national side, but missed out on their World Cup squad last year.
Arsenal are also keeping an eye on Raphinha’s situation at Barcelona – though it’s likely he will stay put in this window.
The Gunners had been close to securing a club-record transfer for Ukrainian winger Mudryk earlier in the January transfer window, but a late charge from Chelsea ended with the forward moving to Stamford Bridge instead.
Analysis: Diaby could give Saka much-needed rotation
Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz:
“Arsenal clearly want to bolster their frontline this January – and the position where they need the most attention is the right wing.
“Competition and backup are needed for Bukayo Saka, who was overused last season as Arsenal dropped out of the Champions League places at the end of the campaign. This season again he has barely been given a rest by Mikel Arteta as there is not much behind him in terms of cover.
“Fabio Vieira could play in that right wing role but is efficiently a central player, while teenage winger Marquinhos has only been trusted with one minute of Premier League football all season and has started just one game since the middle of October.
“Diaby shares plenty of characteristics with Saka which makes many feel like this interest in the Bayer Leverkusen winger is to help support the England attacker.
“The two-footed Frenchman has the most chances created via carrying the ball (29) in the Bundesliga this season, while his simpler statistics are promising as well.
“Only Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller has more assists and big chances created in Germany’s top-flight since the start of last season than Diaby. It is certainly good company.”
Will Leverkusen be able to resist a big bid?
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth:
“Bringing Mykhailo Mudryk back into this, I wonder what that deal has done to the market because now Leverkusen, with an interested party, will say that they rate Diaby really highly.
“They’ve seen Mudryk go for £88.5m. So, this is what they may say they value Diaby at.
“As far as Leverkusen’s season has gone, it has not gone to plan. They were in the Champions league and finished third in the group and are now in the Europa League. They are currently 12th in the Bundesliga, nine points off the top four .
“I wonder if Arsenal formalize this interest and go with a big bid that Leverkusen will be able to resist or not.”
Arsenal are thought to be keeping an eye on Raphinha’s situation at Barcelona after missing out on Mudryk to Chelsea.
Mudryk was not the only forward player Arsenal have been looking at in this window and the club will remain prepared for an opportunity if it arises.
Raphinha is a player Arsenal were tracking last year.
The Gunners made a bid to sign Raphinha last summer when he was at Leeds, prior to the Brazil international winger completing a £55m move to Barcelona.
Who will be on the move this winter? The January transfer window opened on Sunday January 1, 2023 and closes at 11pm we Tuesday January 31, 2023
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