Chelsea make Sporting CP's Ousmane Diomande top centre-back target

  • Chelsea want a new centre-back in 2024 & are ready to focus on Diomande
  • Jean-Clair Todibo & Jarrad Branthwaite both previously scouted
  • Blues hope to sell Trevoh Chalobah; Thiago Silva could leave as free agent
Chelsea are ready to focus on Diomande
Chelsea are ready to focus on Diomande / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

Chelsea have identified Sporting CP centre-back Ousmane Diomande as their top defensive target for the summer transfer window, 90min understands.

The Blues hope to sell Trevoh Chalobah either this month or in the summer and are also preparing for a future without 39-year-old Thiago Silva, who is in the final six months of his contract. While an extension for the Brazilian veteran has not been ruled out, Chelsea clearly have to think beyond Silva in the long term.

Scouts have searched for a young defender to fit the current direction of the squad. Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo has also been looked at and Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi has been considered, which would see him retutn to Cobham. Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite has been spoken about internally as well, but sources have confirmed to 90min that it is Diomande who has emerged as a leading candidate as it stands.

20-year-old Diomande has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence. He joined Sporting in January 2023 after impressing on loan in the second tier of Portuguese football and quickly established himself as a permanent fixture in the starting lineup.

Chelsea have made contact with Sporting already this month and been told nothing is possible unless Diomande's release clause of €80m (£69m) is triggered, but that stance could soften in the summer. However, Diomande's former club FC Midtjylland are due 20% of any profit on a sale which will be factored into any valuation outside of the release-clause number. 


Chelsea are not expected to trigger the clause in January and could instead focus their efforts on a summer transfer for the Ivory Coast international, who is understood to be open to a move to Stamford Bridge. Although Chelsea want another centre-back, Ben Chilwell's return allows them to utilise him at left-back and move Levi Colwill to his preferred position at centre-back. And with Silva at the club until at least the summer there is no urgency to move in the market for another defender until the profile materialises.

Aside from Silva, Chelsea have built a core of young defenders Colwill and emerging academy talent Alfie Gilchrist are both 20, Benoit Badiashile is 22, Wesley Fofana turned 23 in December and even summer signing Axel Disasi is still only 25.

Colwill remains on Liverpool's long-term radar but Chelsea have no desire to even entertain interest in the youngster, who is under contract until 2029 and can also see his deal extended by a further 12 months until 2030. Any offers for Colwill right now would be roundly dismissed and Chelsea would not even offer up a number, however high. They view Colwill as an elite defender and he is already part of their player-led leadership group.

Diomande would fit into the current crop of centre-backs and would help ease the burden on Fofana, who is working his way back from the second serious injury of his young career.