Spanish side Valencia CF have already begun to spend the €40m made from the sale of João Cancelo, signing Lyon defender Mouctar Diakhaby for €15m. A product of Lyon’s celebrated academy, Diakhaby has signed a five-year deal in Spain that includes a €100m buy-out clause. Moving to Eastern Spain will be the French defender’s first venture away from Lyon, where he spent all of his senior career thus far.
A strong, imposing centre-back standing at 6’4”, Diakhaby will reinforce an already stout Valencia defense that conceded 38 goals in 38 La Liga matches. The Frenchman is still just 21-years-old and shows significant promise, but also has a few areas to improve upon.
While Diakhaby boasts great physicality, he lacks a certain level of consistency and concentration. This was evident on Matchweek 37 of this past Ligue 1 season, when a bizarre error by Diakhaby led to a crucial goal for RC Strasbourg. Strasbourg went on to win the match 3-2, with the unfortunate result preventing Lyon from accomplishing what would have an impressive second place finish.
Despite his faults, there is no reason to believe that Diakhaby won’t find success in Valencia. He’ll be joining an experienced centre-back core featuring veterans Ezequiel Garay and Gabriel Paulista and should be protected by defensive midfielders and fellow Frenchmen Geoffrey Kondogbia and Francis Coquelin.
The French constituency that Valencia are slowly building should help Diakhaby’s acclimation to Spain and will only add to their solid defensive personnel and scheme.