With only FA Cup replays taking place this week, football itself takes a backseat to the January tradition of wild speculation over potential transfers. While most are well wide of the mark, one move that is getting closer by the hour is that of Lassana Diarra, poised to make the switch to Portsmouth.
With Diarra only arriving at the club a little over four months ago, and spending most of his time complaining about a perceived lack of first team action, not many fans will be sad to see him go, especially as it appears we’ll make a tidy profit on the 2m he cost from Chelsea.
The concern for many is not the gap that Diarra leaves behind, but the potential hole that Flamini carves in the midfield if he decides not to sign a new contract and moves on in the summer. With Diarra his obvious replacement, it would transform a position of strength into one looking dangerously short of options.
But Diarra just wants first team football (apparently without earning it). If Wenger thought Flamini might move on, he could easily dangle the carrot in front of Diarra that with Gilberto aging and possibly also leaving, he’d be given the chance to play on a regular basis. Flamini himself was promised less last season and was convinced to stay.
That Diarra is so intent on quitting the club suggests that no such offer has been made, that Wenger cannot assure him of any regular position in the side, which suggests that he is fully confident that Flamini will continue in his central berth next season and beyond. It would make little sense for him to move on now that he has established himself for the first time – he is in his element now and probably isn’t daft enough to think the grass is greener elsewhere.
Moreover, if Wenger was less than sure on Flamini’s future, I just don’t think he’d let Diarra go this soon.
Elsewhere, we’re apparently signing a whole host of young players, following the journalistic tradition of finding some supposedly talented kid playing in the depths of nowhere, and linking him with Arsenal.
The most likely is Luke Freeman, Gillingham’s 15 year old who came on in their recent FA Cup game, as talks have been confirmed between the two clubs, but elsewhere, we are linked with another young keeper, Fabricio, a Spanish youth international playing for Deportivo’s B team and Andre Ayew, Marseille’s Ghanian left winger, in a classic story which relies entirely on ‘a source close to the player’.
So we can rule that one out then.
The Mirror also report that we have completed the signing of Vyacheslav Dmitriev, a 17 year old Russian defender, who should arrive in the summer. Usually these are confirmed, so we will wait and see, especially with the Mirror not exactly being the most reliable source.
So that’s four signings in the pipeline today, who’ll be on the list tomorrow?