Arsenal: Moussa Diaby would be ideal Saka competition

Moussa Diaby may just be the final piece to Arsenal’s title-winning jigsaw.

If Arsenal supporters thought their side’s summer spending spree was set to conclude with the arrivals of Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber, they have another thing coming.

According to Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth, manager Mikel Arteta is on the lookout for another right-sided attacker to complete his squad for the 2023/24 campaign.

Who have Arsenal signed this summer?

Rice and Timber’s rather drawn-out arrivals will surely be confirmed in the coming days, with the pair joining for a combined £143m, on top of the £65m splashed out on Kai Havertz from Chelsea earlier in the window.

Granit Xhaka is the only first-team regular to have departed after the Swiss midfielder joined Leverkusen for a fee of £21.4m, so it is fair to say Arsenal’s squad is a lot stronger – or certainly will be – than at the end of last season.

Arteta is seemingly not content just yet, though, as he is seeking a player who can give Bukayo Saka some competition on the right-hand flank.

If previous reports are anything to go by, Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby could be the man Arsenal and Arteta go all out to sign before the transfer window closes, according to Dean Jones on The Football Terrace (via TEAMtalk).

What positions can Moussa Diaby play?

Diaby is as versatile as they come, having played right across the forward line in his 41 appearances for Leverkusen in all competitions last season. It is out on the right the 10-cap France international prefers to play, featuring there 17 times last season, as per WhoScored.

The Frenchman scored 12 goals and assisted nine more in all competitions – the vast majority of those goal involvements coming when he was fielded out on the right.

That would therefore see him fit the criteria of the type of player Arteta is after, with Diaby – valued at around £50m, according to the Daily Mail – also showing last season he has an end product to his game.

As Leverkusen’s sporting director Simon Rolfes put it in an interview with The Athletic earlier this year, Diaby is an “extremely fast, technically strong” player, one who is able to beat an opponent and also lead counter-attacks.


As per FBref, Diaby ranks in the top 19% of all attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues in terms of non-penalty goals per 90 scored last season (0.35), while he is in the top 20% for progressive carries per 90 (4.04).

To put that in some perspective, Saka – one of the best performers in the Premier League last season – was in the top 21% (0.33) for non-penalty goals and top 10% for progressive carries (5.04).

If Arsenal are to spend £50m on a player then it will be on someone who can seriously rival Saka for a starting spot, or at the very least provide a high-quality replacement when the Englishman needs a rest.

Given FBref’s player comparison tool ranks Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah as the player most like Diaby across Europe’s top five leagues, it is fair to say Arsenal would be getting exactly that.

For example, the French phenom scored from 0.11 of his shots last season, compared to 0.14 for Salah, while they completed a near identical number of passes (24.7 v 24.6 respectively) and were also alike in terms of shot-creating actions per 90 (3.67 v 3.83), which factors in passes and take-ons leading to a shot.

Diaby could therefore be the ideal signing for Arteta in his search for what he will hope is the final piece in a title-winning jigsaw.