Tottenham to lure former Gunner Lassana Diarra to White Hart Lane
Tottenham (joint 14/1 favourites to win the Europa League) are reportedly close to sealing a shock swoop for former Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra. The feisty Frenchman has been a free agent since leaving last club Lokomotiv Moscow earlier this year, but has surprisingly been left on the shelf.
Talks are believed to be advanced, but Ligue 1 leaders Marseille are also in the frame and are expected to strongly challenge Spurs for his signature. The Cote d’Azur club could offer Paris-born Diarra the chance to return to, and play in, his homeland, after he left boyhood team La Havre for Stamford Bridge back in 2005.
Mauricio Pochettino has apparently asked Daniel Levy to ensure he gets his man, however, with the White Hart Lane outfit preparing to offer the 29-year-old a lucrative, but performance-based, financial package.
The Premier League big-guns could blow rivals Marseille out of the water with their wage offers, but Diarra could yet prefer to plump for the chance of silverware at the Stade Velodrome.
If Diarra does instead decide to return to north London, he would become only the second player to have represented the three giant capital clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. Compatriot and former clubmate William Gallas has been the only other player to do so.
Despite his past with bitter rivals the Blues and Gunners, journeyman Diarra made just 20 combined league appearances for those two teams, which should ease the potential resentment from White Hart Lane fans.
Decorated Diarra, who has 28 caps for France, would certainly bring experience to struggling Spurs, having lifted the FA Cup with Portsmouth and La Liga with Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Pochettino is seemingly not content with his current midfield options, after failing to snare Diarra’s compatriot Morgan Schneiderlin this summer. Current target Diarra was available last transfer window, but remains unattached, following rumours that a deal with QPR fell through due to eye-watering wage demands.
Fellow French midfielder Etienne Capoue could partner Diarra in a solid, if unspectacular, midfield at White Hart Lane, with Paulinho and Moussa Dembele falling down the pecking order, behind academy product Ryan Mason.
As Pochettino looks to stabilise his side’s results, building a team around the youthful talents of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, experienced Diarra could also plug a potential gap at right back, as Kyle Walker attempts to find his form after injury.