Reports: Manchester United and PSG battle for former Real Madrid and Chelsea star
What's the rumour?
Manchester United have become the latest entrants into the chase for Lassana Diarra's signature, according to a report in French news outlet, Le Parisien. The French defensive midfielder is a free agent at the moment and was previously linked with a move to Paris St-Germain. PSG are in need of defensive reinforcements after an injury to Thiago Motta, although the report claims that negotiations with Diarra have slowed down after Jose Mourinho made his interest known.
In case you didn't know...
One of the players well known for his journeyman career, Diarra bounced around multiple clubs in France, before breaking through at Le Havre. Chelsea brought him to the club as the successor to Claude Makelele in 2005, before a lack of first-team action saw him move to Arsenal. An unhappy 5-month spell at the Gunners ended with a move to Portsmouth, where he won an FA Cup.
Real Madrid then purchased Diarra for €20 million, whom he left in 2012. Controversial spells in Russia followed, after which Diarra restored his reputation with Marseille, before having his contract cancelled in 2017. He joined Al Jazira a couple of months later, but the UAE-based club parted ways with the midfielder in December.
The heart of the matter
Lassana Diarra is a free agent at the moment, yet, the calibre of clubs interested in him is rather high. The report in Le Parisien claims that the player himself prefers moving to PSG, although Jose Mourinho's entry into the chase for his signature might change things.
The Portuguese manager worked with Diarra at Chelsea and Real Madrid, although it was with Los Blancos where Mourinho used Diarra with any sort of regularity. Thus, if a personal plea from his former manager comes about, Diarra might move back to the Premier League
Le Parisien have a decent reputation when it comes to news of French players as well as that of Paris St-Germain, having been one of the first to report the Neymar transfer last season. The fact that Manchester United are interested seems plausible enough, especially given Jose Mourinho's previous association with the player. However, the Red Devils have more than enough money to chase midfielders in their prime and not a 32-year-old who is on the decline and without a club at the moment.
Diarra would actually be a clever signing by Manchester United, especially given that Michael Carrick's retirement has been announced by Jose Mourinho. The Frenchman would bring a wealth of experience to the dressing room, and in situations where the Red Devils are in need of protecting a lead, he would be the perfect player to bring on - not to mention that Manchester United are in three competitions at the moment - and Diarra can afford some of the first-team players a rest in cup competitions.
Jose Mourinho's success with players he has previously coached is well known - and if the Portuguese manager truly deems Diarra worthy of a place in his side, United would do well to outbid PSG for his signature.