While it’s not official just yet, reports are that Lassana Diarra has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with Portsmouth. The French international midfielder has reportedly been sold by Arsenal for £5 million, £3 million more than the club paid for him from Chelsea just over four months ago.
Update: It is official; Lassana Diarra has left Arsenal for Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee.
The Diarra situation is one that I spoke about in a detail yesterday and there’s not really too much to add. He wants to play first-team football in order to make the French national team for Euro 2008, Arsenal can’t give it to him right now, so he’s left. I don’t think it’s the smartest decision he will ever make but I can definitely see where he’s coming from. Portsmouth are a decent club on the up and he should do quite well there.
From an Arsenal perspective, there are both positives and negatives that can be taken out of the sale of Diarra. On one hand the club are undoubtedly losing a talented prospect but on the other hand they’ve only had him for four months and it would be fanciful to believe that he was ever in Arsene Wenger’s long-term plans before he signed. When you think about that, it’s not such a big deal that he has left.
Diarra’s decision to go should increase the likelihood of Mathieu Flamini signing a new deal and that’s definitely a good thing. If I had to pick one out of the two Frenchman to stay at the club it would be the scruffy-looking one and if Diarra leaving means Flamini will sign on then I’ll take that.
The sale of Diarra will also give Denilson more chances to develop and will hopefully persuade Wenger into giving Abou Diaby some more starts in the middle of the pitch. There was some talk that – due to their close friendship – Diaby might follow Diarra out the door if he left but hopefully the former can now see the opportunity he should get to show his worth as a central midfielder.
The final issue is whether or not Wenger will use Diarra’s exit as an opportunity to make a signing. Currently the club has Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Denilson, Gilberto Silva, Abou Diaby as well as Alex Song who could play in the middle, so Wenger could definitely argue the point against bringing in a new signing. On the other hand, an injury to either Fabregas or Flamini could leave experienced options a little thin so there is equally a case for buying someone new.
And if Wenger does choose to splash the cash, who would bet against him bringing in someone even better than Diarra? Not me, that’s for sure.
What do you think?
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