Arsenal have reportedly been to shell out £60 million if they want to sign French defender Issa Diop from fellow London outfit West Ham United.
Fresh after breaking their club transfer record for Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal have been told to cough up a hefty amount of £60 million if they are to secure the signing of French centre-half Issa Diop from rivals West Ham United, reports The Sun.
Arsenal have had quite the week in the transfer market, having confirmed the signings of William Saliba and Dani Ceballos (on loan), before shattering their transfer record for the £72 million arrival of Nicolas Pepe from LOSC Lille.
The defence though remains a concern for the North London outfit, amid concerns over the future of veteran centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who has asked to leave the club. Add to it, Shkodran Mustafi has also been heavily linked with an exit from the Emirates Stadium recently.
Even if the duo end up staying put at Arsenal, there is no question that a fresh addition to the backline is very important for the Gunners if they are to break back into the top four of the Premier League next season. To that end, the North Londoners have identified West Ham’s Issa Diop as a viable target to sign.
The 22-year-old arrived at West Ham last summer from Ligue 1 side Toulouse and has gone on to earn a glowing reputation for himself after a series of impressive, solid displays at the heart of the Hammers’ defence. He featured 38 times across all competition for the club and bagged two goals in the process as well.
Diop had earlier been linked with Manchester United as well, but a move never materialized with the Red Devils turning their focus towards Harry Maguire. Now, Arsenal have expressed an interest in landing the French U-21 international, but have been told by West Ham to shell out £60 million if they want to sign him.
The transfer fee has left Arsenal stumped as they just do not have that amount of cash to spend. The Gunners started the summer with a transfer kitty of £45 million, and have spent £15 million on securing Ceballos’ loan deal, while paying £20 million upfront to Lille for Pepe’s signing with the rest £52 million to be spread over the next five years.
Arsenal had to pay £3 million initially as part of the agreement to sign Saliba and they spent another £6 million on Gabriel Martinelli, meaning they have just a million to spare from their initial budget. And the funds generated from Mustafi’s potential sale are likely to be utilized in signing left-back Kieran Tierney from Celtic.
This would mean Arsenal will not have enough budget to fund a £60 million move for Diop to bolster their defence. Instead, they are likely to explore loan options with Juventus star Daniele Rugani emerging as a possible loan target. It remains to be seen if the Gunners are able to sign a new defender before the transfer window shuts, but a move for Diop is unlikely to happen.