After four months of complaints, Diarra has moved to his third club of the season, joining Portsmouth for a fee believed to be between 5m and 5.5m. Harry Redknapp is understandably delighted to have him, especially as they’re so short of players during the African Nations Cup, but Diarra’s interview with L’Equipe makes his attitude perfectly clear, the kind of attitude that has me glad to see the back of him.
“My choice could shock and surprise people, I am conscious of that. It isn’t Arsenal, it isn’t Chelsea. But I know the Portsmouth manager, I know he is going to play me.”
Reading between the lines, he is abandoning playing for a big club in order to be guaranteed regular starts. He isn’t willing to fight for his place, which isn’t a great distance off (he was Flamini’s understudy, after all), and would rather be given the nod without having to earn it. Big fish, small pond, and all that.
Demonstrating the point even more, he continues:
“I read that the club [Arsenal] wanted to keep me. But when you want to keep someone, you do it by playing them. This hasn’t been the case.”
What? If Diarra honestly believes that’s how it works at big clubs, he will never ever make it. He has it all the wrong way around – at a big club you are not enticed to stay by being put out on the field on a regular basis, you entice the manager to keep you by impressing whenever you do get a chance and forcing your way in, exactly as Flamini did.
He seems to want the world handed to him on a plate and that attitude simply isn’t going to get him very far. He’s an excellent player, and I’m sure he’ll do well at Portsmouth, but the top managers aren’t stupid, and will be taking note of this ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ attitude.
Having alienated both Chelsea and Arsenal, he now has to convince the Pompey fans he’s where he wants to be, which is a tough ask given that he quite clearly isn’t:
“The people at Portsmouth know I will not spend my life at this club. If I shine, if a really big club wants me, I know already that everything will go well.”
“Portsmouth are a respectable club.”
Respectable? Respectable?? Wow, what a compliment to pay your new employers. He’s at his third club since August and already he’s talking about moving on. Classy.
Diarra wants to play at the top, but doesn’t have the fight to put up with the competition for places. Unless he changed his attitude, he was never going to make it at Arsenal. The grass is not greener, Lassana.
So good riddance, frankly.