Yesterday it was made official that Lassana Diarra had left Arsenal for Portsmouth for a figure reported to be around £5.5 million. The reason for the Frenchman leaving was of course his need to play first-team football, something that he couldn’t find at Arsenal with Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini asserting themselves as the chosen pairing in the centre of the pitch.
Today Diarra spoke for the first time about his transfer and essentially admitted that the move to Portsmouth is nothing but a stop-gap in his career. It certainly makes for interesting reading.
“The people at Portsmouth know that I will not spend my life at the club. I was able to add a clause to my contract. If I shine, if a really big club wants me, I already know that everything will go well. I don’t want any more battles.
“My choice could shock and surprise people, I know that. Some are already saying that in going to Portsmouth I am making a mistake regarding my chances with France but I don’t think so.
“I need to play and I really want to think about myself, about those who appreciate me. I read that Arsenal wanted to keep me but when you want to keep someone, you do that by playing them.”
Before I read these comments I was reasonably quick to defend Diarra for all the previous statements he had made in the past. As I read them, he wanted first-team football to show what he could do in order to impress Raymond Domenech and make it into the French starting team for Euro 2008. I thought that fair enough. But these latest comments just show up what a selfish, disloyal and most of all unintelligent person he appears to be.
Selfish because he only wants to think of himself, not caring about the club he represents. Disloyal because he signed a clause in his contract to allow him to leave to a bigger club at any moment should the opportunity present itself. Unintelligent, because despite already being at two big clubs in Chelsea and Arsenal he has not learned one thing about the challenges playing at a big club entails. To be so stupid as to want to play for a big club and then not expect to be challenged for a starting team position is just ridiculous. At first I thought Diarra was lacking in ambition, but now I realise he’s just a fool.
Yesterday I didn’t mind that he had left, today more than happy about it. I’ve always been proud of the way the majority of Arsenal players seem to have a brain to go with their exceptional footballing talents but it’s clear that Diarra is not part of that quota. A good player he may be, but a smart one he is not. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.
The other news in the build-up to the Fulham game is that while Tomas Rosicky will be available after recovering from illness, Arsene Wenger revealed that Arsenal have lost both Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou for at least a couple of weeks through respective thigh and groin problems.
“Compared to last week we have Robin van Persie who is out for a few weeks. I believe Tomas Rosicky will be OK to come back. But Johan Djourou is out as well. He has had an inflammation of his groin and in the next two weeks he will not be capable to play.”
It will be nice to have Rosicky back, but losing van Persie and Djourou for a few more weeks is very disappointing. I was really hoping that Djourou would step in for Kolo Toure at the back in the Ivorian’s absence but it looks like Arsenal will be relying on Philippe Senderos for a short while longer yet. To be frank, despite his decent performance against Birmingham I remain a little bit worried.
Four strikers for a reason
Van Persie’s absence is also a major disappointment, but in my eyes a somewhat expected one. There are a lot of people who mix up the common head cold with the flu and it was clear that van Persie was suffering from the flu, which usually means one or two weeks of bed-rest and a severe lack of energy. If he had a thigh problem at the same time as he got the flu then it will have severely hampered his body’s ability to recover from the injury and I’d expect that’s why he will be out for two or three more weeks.
A couple of people have suggested in the comments that Wenger needs to dip into the transfer market and bring in a world-class striker to compensate for van Persie’s persistant habit of being injured. I disagree. The whole point of having four strikers in the squad is to cover for when the main forwards get injured. If you bring someone in you push the likes of Nicklas Bendtner and Eduardo da Silva down the line and when van Persie returns from injury you have a massive selection problem.
Both the Dane and Brazilian-born Croatian deserve their opportunities to show what they can do alongside Emmanuel Adebayor in van Persie’s absence. All this talk about needing a new forward is rubbish. Adebayor has scored 13 goals in the league already this season, more than any other out-and-out striker in the Premiership. Eduardo has just hit some nice form and Bendtner will always provide something for the team if called upon.
The team for tomorrow’s match looks quite predictable. Manuel Almunia should take his usual place in goals behind a back four of Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Philippe Senderos and Gael Clichy. Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas will start in the middle of the pitched and should be flanked by Alexander Hleb on the right and Tomas Rosicky on the left. Up front I’m expecting Eduardo to partner Adebayor to form the last part of a 4-4-2 formation.
Fulham sit 19th and should be beaten by Arsenal tomorrow. A lot of supporters will be hoping for a bit of battering and I will be among them. While I feel that Wenger and his squad are right in the race for the Premiership it has been a while since they’ve put in a really great performance and I think tomorrow could be the game when things click back into gear. As such, I’ll go for a 3-1 win with Fabregas getting back to form and getting on the scoresheet.
Just before I go I urge those readers who use Facebook to join a couple of groups that I recently created. The first is simply the ‘Arsenal FC Blog Readers’ group and the second is the ‘Lassana Diarra is a Selfish, Disloyal and Unintelligent Fool’ group. If I was Arseblogger that last word would probably start with a ‘c’, but I’m just not that type of guy. Just make sure you’re logged in before you click on the links.
What do you think?
Have your say on Diarra’s attitude or the Fulham match by leaving a comment.