Arsenal manager: ‘Diarra panicked by joining Portsmouth’

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Many people were surprised when Lassana Diarra’s frustration got the better of him in January, causing the midfielder to leave Arsenal and sign for Portsmouth where he was almost certainly guaranteed first-team football. Despite the best efforts of Harry Redknapp to massage the Frenchman’s ego at every available turn, it appears as though the player will be moving on again in the summer, although Arsene Wenger claims he only left the Emirates in a fit of panic and might have been a touch hasty to do so. Sporting Life reveals all:

“I came to the conclusion that Diarra could not cope with the fact that he was behind the other players here in midfield,” said the Gunners boss.

“I thought the best option was to let him go because I already had Denilson, [Abou] Diaby and Gilberto all trying to get into the team as well. It was a congestion.

“I bought Diarra in the summer because I thought Flamini might leave at the end of the season and if he was able to be patient, he would get his chance.

“It turned out he wasn’t capable of that. With Euro 2008 in mind, he panicked.

“I did explain when he joined that he might have to be patient, and he acknowledged it, but he couldn’t cope with the situation, and also did not want to go on loan anywhere either.”

Therefore, all those people who said Wenger made a mistake by not keeping hold of Diarra can now realise that the Arsenal manager was pretty much powerless when it came to keeping the diminutive midfielder. It’s interesting that Le Boss expected Flamini to shove off in the summer – do you think he’s regretting the release of Diarra considering his performances for Pompey in 2008?

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