English journalist Jonathan Johnston thinks Newcastle United would be a better fit than Arsenal for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby. The French attacker has been linked with both Premier League clubs.
Diaby, 23, has been in fine form for Leverkusen, scoring 12 goals and providing seven assists in 34 games across competitions. Top European sides are taking notice as his stock continues to grow in the Bundesliga.
The Frenchman is reportedly a target for the Gunners, the Magpies and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. He has two years left on his contract and is valued by Transfermarkt at €50 million.
Johnston touched on the interest in Diaby when speaking to CaughtOffside. He started by alluding to Arsenal, Newcastle, and PSG's interest in the player:
“I think Moussa Diaby’s name is coming up a lot ahead of the summer because he’s grown a lot since he left PSG to move to Germany with Bayer Leverkusen. We’re seeing links with the likes of Arsenal and Newcastle, and PSG themselves have also been linked with an interest in re-signing him."
Diaby made 34 senior appearances for PSG, scoring four goals and providing seven assists before leaving in 2019. A return to the Parc des Princes is a possibility. As is a switch to Arsenal to join Mikel Arteta's side who are flying high at the top of the Premier League.
However, Johnston reckons the best move for Diaby would be to head to St. James' Park. He thinks the project that Eddie Howe is overseeing would suit the French winger:
“He’s arriving at a point in his career now where he needs to make the next step, and perhaps a Newcastle-like project would be a good fit for him in terms of where he’s at right now."
Newcastle are enjoying an impressive campaign under Howe, sitting fifth and trailing fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by four points. They boast two games in hand over their top-four rivals.
The Magpies have made plenty of big-money signings such as Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon for €42.1 million and Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for €70 million. It would come as no surprise to see the Tyneside club win the race for Diaby.
Arsenal manager Arteta insists his side wanted to progress to the Europa League quarterfinals
Arsenal suffered a heartbreaking 5-3 penalty shootout defeat to Sporting CP on Thursday (March 16). Gabriel Martinelli saw his spot-kick saved by Spanish goalkeeper Antonio Adan. The two sides played out an enthralling 1-1 (3-3 aggregate) draw before the end of regulation time.
Arteta's side will now turn their attention to the league, which is the last competition they are in contention to win. The Spanish coach was asked whether the result and elimination from the Europa League was a blessing in disguise. He replied (via football.london):
"I cannot see it that way today. I don’t know, if you go through the competition and win it, it’s magnificent. If it’s not, then it affects your plans in the league, that’s a different story. We wanted to go through and we put everything into it."
The Gunners will next be in action against Crystal Palace on Sunday (March 19). They hold a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City at the top of the league.