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The £18m Midfielder Who Could End Manchester United’s Hargreaves Nightmare

Sir Alex targets Real Madrid bench warmer who has what it takes to be an Old Trafford success.

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Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra is available in the January transfer window and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Diarra was also linked with United when he was at Lyon, but nothing came of a conversation between his agent and Sir Alex Ferguson.

A possible move to either United or another top European club could hit a stumbling block, however, and all depends on Real’s valuation of the player.

In an exclusive interview with Sport.co.uk agent Frederic Guerra revealed that his client is available for transfer.

When asked if the player will leave Madrid, he said: “For now in January it is possible, but it will be very difficult. It depends how much money a club is willing to pay the player, and how much Real Madrid want for the player.

“His contract finishes in 2011, so he still has time to run.”

Guerra was coy when asked which Premier League clubs were interested in the Malian international. “I will say that three years ago I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson about Diarra but he didn’t give me any money.”

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has tracked the progress of the combative midfielder since the former Lyon player moved to Real Madrid.

The signing of Portsmouth’s Lassana Diarra and injury problems have relegated the defensive midfielder to the bench at the Bernabeu.

However, Manchester United’s recent dip in form and the long-term injury problems regarding Owen Hargreaves could see Sir Alex Ferguson look to add some steal to his side. (Give Me Football – Official PFA Website)

If there is one position up for grabs at Manchester United at present, and some would argue there are a few problem areas, then a defensive midfielder with bite and intelligence could come in handy. With Owen Hargreaves lurching from one injury hell to another it is surely time for Sir Alex to consider signing a player to fill the void in the centre of the Old Trafford midfield. Its a position that many have tried to make their own with Darren Fletcher at times excelling in the role but perhaps a move for Mahamadou Diarra would be just the ticket.

Ferguson is known to be a fan and like many others at the Bernabeu he is finding it hard to get a foothold in the starting line up and would surely jump at a move to Manchester United. Diarra is an effective, if one dimensional, tool to have in the midfield locker. He doesn’t have the long rangy runs of a Patrick Vieira in his pomp, Mahamadou is more the type of player who simply breaks up the play and hands possession over to a good passer of the ball, such as Michael Carrick. The Real Madrid man is also not really a Michael Essien type of midfielder in the sense that he is unlikely to crack in a 25 yarder or to pull off a 40 yard pass, the 28 year old is a blunt instrument but an effective one who’s success rate can not be argued with. We are talking about a player who won six back to back titles, four in France and two in Spain, and has a vast experience in the big time.

Obviously a bit stumbling block in the way of such a move would be the fact that Manchester United do not get on too well with Real Madrid, having been the victim of some deliberate attempts by the Spanish side to unsettle their stars and successfully picking off a few of United’s gems but if Sir Alex wants a player to add steel in his midfield and to put a barrier in front of a uncharacteristically unstable defence then Mahamadou Diarra could be the man for the job.

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