For the first time in close to a decade, Arsène Wenger is targeting to address basically all of his team’s deficiencies. Alexis Sánchez replacement? Check. An upgrade on Alexandre Lacazette? Pending. Now, the 68-year-old is eyeing up a defender in the name of Abdou Diallo.
The Gunners have also identified West Brom captain Jonny Evans as a potential transfer target. Both are realistic options as Arsène Wenger has admitted he’s open to strengthening all areas of the squad. Abdou Diallo is next on the shopping list, here’s what you need to know about him.
Extensive youth career
Although Abdou Diallo is only 21 years of age, the youngster has played for a wide range of clubs. In a youth career that spanned from 2002 to 2014, Diallo played for SEVEN different youth teams. It was only at Monaco that he was able to break into the senior team when he was 18 years old back in 2014.
Even upon breaking into the first team, Diallo was sent out on loan to Zulte Waregem where he made 33 appearances in one season. Last year, the Frenchman took a monumental step for his career development by signing a 5-year deal with Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05.
Young but not naïve. Abdou Diallo has already shown at his young age that he’s a leader amongst men. His performances are assured and don’t display the naivety of other defenders his age. His leadership traits are verified by the fact that he currently captains France’s under-21 team.
Overlooked by AS Monaco
Last season, Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco team took the world by storm. Headlinesd by stars like Kylian Mbappé, Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar, Monaco pipped Paris Saint-Germain to 2017’s Ligue 1 title. Despite all the young talent in the starting XI, Abdou Diallo wasn’t given his chance to shine like his agemates. In reality, Diallo was only allowed to play six games all season.
Scouted by Sven Mislintat
In this January window, we’ve already seen the wondrous works of thenew head of scouting, Sven Mislintat. This is the man that brought Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ousmane Dembele to Borussia Dortmund.Now the German has brought his extensive knowledge of world football to North London.
The 45-year-old is behind Arsenal’s transfer dealings with Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and now Abdou Diallo. Sven Mislintat has raided the Bundesliga and identified Abdou Diallo as the most suitable candidate to solve Arsenal’s defensive woes.
Composed, mature and level-headed are all words that can be used to describe the 21-year-old. His positional awareness and in-game intelligence package him as the perfect fit for a discombobulated Arsenal defence. This season, Diallo has averaged 2.4 tackles per game, 2.7 interceptions per game and successfully completed 77.4% of his passes (WhoScored).
Abdou Diallo is a defender that loves to play on the front foot, he regularly pushes up into midfield to aid build-up play. Such a mentality would help him seamlessly adjust to Arsène Wenger’s style of play. Basically, Abdou Diallo would be a better fit for Arsenal than Jonny Evans would.