Three players Arsenal should scout at the AFCON

Arsenal can look forward to the AFCON and probably consider scouting a few talents that could enhance their options in the future.

The January transfer window has opened, and Arsenal are expected to make some additions to their squad to elevate their current quality. Mikel Arteta’s men have fallen behind in the title race owing to back-to-back defeats against West Ham United and Fulham.

The Gunners are in the market to strengthen their squad and equip themselves for the Premier League and UEFA Champions League challenges. They are already five points behind leaders Liverpool, as Arteta dearly needs a striker, defender and probably even a midfielder.

Thomas Partey has not travelled to the AFCON, which shows how significant his injury has been despite suggestions he could have returned in December. At the back, Arsenal are a bit short with their central defensive options, with heavy reliance on William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.

As per many experts, the more pressing need is the centre-forward department, with Arsenal seemingly lacking a prolific goalscorer. Gabriel Jesus has done a phenomenal job since joining the Gunners. But he does not appear like someone capable of scoring 20-plus goals in a season.

Arsenal are probably the only team in the top four to lack a player of that quality, which has seen them getting linked with Ivan Toney, Dusan Vlahovic and Dominic Solanke recently. There are options Arteta can consider from the African continent, which is currently busy with the AFCON.

Hence, with Arsenal likely to have a clear plan in the background, they should consider looking at a few of the stars in the AFCON, who can essentially come in to enhance their options either this month or in the summer. Our list features the formidable Victor Osimhen, the defensive wall of Ousmane Diomande and Burkina Faso star Issa Kabore.

Issa Kabore

Burkina Faso right-back has been gaining valuable experience in the Premier League with Luton Town this season. Issa Kabore has been a regular for Rob Edwards’s side this season and has been imperious, especially during a good run for the Hatters recently.

At 22, he has a long future ahead and may be unable to forge something at his parent club, Manchester City. His contract at the Etihad runs until the summer of 2025, which could allow suitors a chance to sign him next summer when his Luton Town loan ends.

Arsenal have been looking for a right-back, as Arteta may want to add a different profile to that area. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White are almost similar in their styles, meaning the Gunners are missing someone with more attacking skill-set in that role.

Kabore is unlikely to be an option this month. Still, the Gunners can undoubtedly look at him and judge him by his performances for Burkina Faso and Luton in the coming weeks. He should be someone Arteta should consider for the price, quality and longevity he can provide should they approach.

Ousmane Diomande

Diomande has already become one of the sought-after young defenders, with many clubs already chasing his signature. The Ivory Coast international is expected to feature prominently during the AFCON, thus providing interested sides the opportunity to scout him further.

Diomande has featured on Arsenal’s list, with reports suggesting the Gunners even failed with an offer during the summer. Arteta rates the Sporting CP star and may consider moving now. There are suggestions the Gunners could make a loan offer with an obligation to buy. But the Portuguese side are overly protective about keeping the defender in their team until the summer.

Diomande can provide ample cover or competition to Arsenal’s current centre-backs and could become a tremendous rotational option for Arteta. He also possesses a high ceiling, which might cost significantly. Sporting CP currently value him based on his €80 million release clause.

If the Gunners or any other interested side like Chelsea are to poach him this month, they might have to pay a price very close to that clause. Hence, it is ideal for sides to wait until the summer to see a reduction in the price tag and more easily access one of the promising defenders on the continent.

Victor Osimhen

Arsenal are looking for a top-rated centre-forward, and there is no one better than Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian ended speculation for the time being by signing a new contract with Napoli. But the new deal paves the way for suitors to come in and make the effort.

Napoli have reportedly inserted a £112 million release clause, and will demand no less than that. Arsenal are capable of spending big on a centre-forward, and if they fail to sign someone this month, Osimhen could become their big summer target, although for now, they are not in the race in January.

The AFCON also allows them to observe him closely before making the big decision, although some rivals are also chasing the Nigerian frontman. Chelsea are one of those keen, with the striker reportedly open to joining them.

Similarly, Real Madrid are also in the hunt, with earlier reports suggesting Osimhen might prefer the Spanish giants. Yet, the race remains open for the frontman, and Arsenal might consider themselves in the hunt if things go in their favour.

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