'Ideal club' - Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal 'at the front of the queue' for young defender

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The latest transfer talk from St James Park as Newcastle United prepare for the summer transfer window.

Newcastle United are reportedly ‘at the front of the race’ to seal a deal for Sporting CP’s highly-rated defender Ousmane Diomande.

The 20-year-old centre-back has quickly become one of the most consistent youngsters in European football after impressing throughout the last 12 months as the Portuguese giants have impressed in domestic and European competition. After joining Sporting in a £4m deal from Danish side FC Midtjylland in January last year, Diomande has gone on to make over 51 appearances and has formed part of a solid defensive partnership with another reported Magpies target, Goncalo Inacio.

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Although Diomande has said little about his future, his agent Luis Cassaiano Neves did give some indication of what could lie ahead after there were reports Arsenal made a £30m bid for his client last summer. Speaking to Portuguese outlet A Bola, he said: “He is extremely satisfied at Sporting, he is very focused on the club and the objectives for this season, which include winning the national title and improving. And he knows that Sporting is the ideal club for this evolution. The player will be happy to sit at the table with Sporting but so far there is nothing. Sporting is Diomande’s present and future, he wants to evolve but there is nothing regarding renewal.”

However, speculation over Diomande’s next move has never been far from the headlines and Portuguese outlet Jornal de Noticas have now claimed Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle are all pressing on with interest in the defender. The report also states any suggestions over a possible £70m release clause has failed to quell any interest from the Premier League quartet and stated Diomande’s future could also be decided by Liverpool’s interest in Sporting manager Ruben Amorim.

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