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Arsenal Transfer Rumor: Moussa Diaby

Filed under: not happening.

Toluca v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Friendly Match Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Arsenal have recently been linked with a move for Bayer Leverkusen attacker Moussa Diaby. According to the German press, the Bundesliga side has slapped a £84M price tag on the 22-year old French attacker. Leverkusen has no reason to sell him quickly; he’s under contract through 2025.

Diaby recently said that he wants a move to a club that “competes for the Champions League, plays in the big games” but added that he could also see himself remaining in Germany next season. It seems unlikely that he’d switch from a CL club (Leverkusen) to one in the Europa League (Arsenal).

This one doesn’t pass the smell test. As far as I can tell, the links have come primarily out of Germany, and they’ve mostly been listing Arsenal among several potential suitors for the young attacker. That reeks of an agent trying to create buzz around a client or a team trying to manipulate the market. The money doesn’t work, either. I don’t think the Gunners are spending anywhere near £80M on one player this window. And for a final nail in this rumor’s coffin, I’ve not seen any of the England-based journalists reporting the interest.

He does tick most / all of the boxes the Gunners are looking for in an attacker, however, with the added bonus of being able to play either wing. That chart below is an impressive bunch of numbers. That said this past season was his “breakout” year in terms of goals (13). He scored just 4 goals in 2020-21 with basically the same number of minutes played.

The list of similar players (stats-wise) is eye-popping: Mo Salah, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Cengiz Under, Son Heung-min, Dimitri Payet, Gianluca Caprari, Riyad Mahrez, Jose Luis Morales, and Rafael Leao. Not bad company.

So yeah. Moussa Diaby is a very talented young attacker with an impressive profile. Arsenal are going to be linked with most of the good, young players across Europe (and probably some of the not-so-good ones as well) until they make their moves, presumably for Gabriel Jesus and Youri Tielemans. I highly doubt we see Diaby at the Emirates next season. The season after that? A small chance, a better one than him coming this summer but still unlikely. This is almost certainly fodder for the endless transfer rumor machine.