Following the groans which tag along Arsenal’s recent performances, one recurring phrase is the need for a true defensive midfielder to wrestle the role from help out Captain Mikel Arteta. Reports making the rounds suggest Wenger is looking to a former Gunner and fellow Frenchman, Lassana Diarra, as the right man for the job.
The 29-year old French International, currently out of contract after unsuccessful spells with Anzhi and Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia, is reportedly desperate to be in a place where French boss Didier Deschamps can see him play on TV, so as to earn a place in the Euro 2016 squad to be hosted in their homeland.
Diarra spent four years in England between 2005 and 2009 with Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth before Jose Mourinho handed him the No 10 jersey and made him his trusted quarter-back in his first season at Real Madrid. There are not many videos on You Tube from which you could see how well he performed at Arsenal, having made a bare 7 appearances in the League. That said, the exit of Diarra from Portsmouth was the start of the exodus which has seen the club plunge further down the League cadres. And considering it took a special talent of a certain German player to take the iconic from him at Madrid, it goes to show how massive he was for the Los Blancos, and how much we may need him at Arsenal.
A genuinely versatile professional, Diarra featured in many games for Chelsea at right and left back, with significant success. He does not come across as the physically imposing figure who will scare advancing opponents away at first glance, but what he possesses intact and experience makes up for his 5ft 8’ frame. A good passer of the ball and also very good at winning it, Lass has the little extra speed which two of the personnel designated to man that duty for us utterly fall short of. Though not one shy to let fly when given a sniff of goal (he shoots way better than Flamini), he is thoroughly a defensive-minded player who will guarantee the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil a little more liberty to spend more time in more offensive areas of the pitch. His move to Chelsea came on the back of him being labeled as “the new Claude Makelele” after a bullish year with Le Havre in France.
Like Flamini, Diarra may feel he still has unfinished business at Arsenal and the incentive of a possible recall to the French National Team would be stimulus enough to lure him once more to England. We may not find him as the quickest holding midfielder in the League, but his invaluable experience at a top European Club will not have departed from him, and could it work out that the presence of an old teammate inspires Ozil to reawaken his brilliant old self?
Anything which will inspire Ozil is worth another £42million, and considering we only have to match what we paid for Sanogo and Flamini combined to land Diarra, I wouldn’t let the opportunity pass me by, and so must Arsenal.
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