London clubs plot move for former Real Madrid midfielder.
Arsenal and Chelsea could both make a move for Lassana Diarra, following the news that Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala have made their entire squad available for transfer, CaughtOffside understands.
The 28-year-old Frenchman has already had spells at both Arsenal and Chelsea, in a nomadic career that has also seen him represent Le Havre, Portsmouth and Real Madrid, as well as current club Anzhi, whom he only joined last summer.
Diarra is the latest Anzhi star to attract interest from the Premier League, with Brazil forward Willian and Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o also firmly on Chelsea’s radar, and could move for a similarly cut price of around £5million.
However, his considerable wages may prove a stumbling block for Arsenal and Tottenham in particular, leaving Chelsea as his most likely destination, depending on the unresolved future of John Obi Mikel.
The Nigerian has been linked several times with moves away this summer, and could still be seen as surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho, who was a fan of Diarra during his time at Stamford Bridge.
However, Diarra was not always a regular in the team at that point and was allowed to leave by owner Roman Abramovich, in one of many disagreements between the Russian and the Portuguese in Mourinho’s first spell with the club. Diarra then made another ill-fated £2million move to Arsenal, where he barely featured in his six months at the club.
He quickly moved on to Portsmouth, where he tasted success with an FA Cup win in his short time at Fratton Park. His fine form for Harry Redknapp’s side then saw him snapped up by Real Madrid in January 2009 for around £18million.
It is unclear if the player himself would welcome a return to Arsenal after his lack of opportunities last time, though Arsene Wenger’s side is arguably more in need of a defensive midfield player now, with no suitable replacement brought in for Alex Song so far since his departure last summer. Diarra would make an ideal partner for Mikel Arteta, allowing the Spaniard to play further forward than he did in the 2012/13 season.
There have also been rumours of interest from Monaco and Galatasaray, two teams who have spent big to attract some big names in recent months.