Arsenal - Diarra: It Was Arsenal Or Nothing
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Diarra: It Was Arsenal Or Nothing

Arsenal new boy, Lassna Diarra, claims he knocked back every Chelsea contract offer and says he only wanted to play for Arsenal.

Arsenal snatched the 22 year old Frenchman from the Premeriship Champi......sorry, from the Premiership runners up despite the Blues best attempts persuade the midfielder to sign a contract extension.

We were led to believe that Diarra was not needed at Stamford Bridge, however the current poll on Vital Chelsea will tell you different, but it wasn't until the final hour of the transfer window that Lassana was made aware of the Gunners interest.

Work had been going on behind the scenes to come to an agreement for the player after Chelsea accepted that he was not going to sign a new deal.

Rather than lose Diarra on a free transfer next summer, the boys from the bridge agreed to deal.

'Honestly, I believe the Chelsea officials thought I would crack and finally accept a contract extension, as my contract would have been up in 2008,' Diarra told L'Equipe.

'But I refused every extension and now I have signed a three-year deal with The Gunners. Chelsea finally accepted, maybe because they were scared I would leave for free in one year.'

'At 11pm on Friday night, I got a phone call to tell me I could start to negotiate with Arsenal as both clubs had found an agreement,' he said.

'I didn't hesitate because Arsenal was the only club I wanted to join. It was Arsenal or nothing. Other teams contacted me, but I knew what I wanted. Chelsea knew I wanted to join The Gunners.'

We look forward to seeing Lassana in action, which could be sooner than he anticipated. With the Sending off of Senderos only leaving us with one available centre back, Diarra could be given a baptism of fire with the possibility of Gilberto moving to the centre of defence for the North London derby.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 3 2007

Time: 4:10PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Well well well, what do you know? Pleasing to read that players from a team that are supposedly superior to Arsenal are so keen to join the Arsenal. I already like this kid :).
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03/09/2007 16:20:00

But isnt it typical of Chelsea? Making him aware of the interest only at 11 pm, doing everything they could to scupper the deal !! They have no interest in a players career. If it was Wenger, and he could not guarantee playing time to someone, he would let them go rather than mess with their careers. (Muamba, Bentley, Sidwell......)
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03/09/2007 16:22:00

They played chicken with the kid right up until the end, he called their bluff and geezer!!
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03/09/2007 16:27:00

Chelsea don't sell players to any team who they consider a threat.
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03/09/2007 16:36:00

Oh that's a good one TT, but what Chelsea believe and what happens in the real world is 2 entirely different things. I always thought "Chelsea World" was a sports store, but now I realise it's a sad little world where you all live.
Report Abuse
03/09/2007 16:46:00

Let's be clear what Diarra said. That he would get in the side ahead of Lampard, Essien, Makelele and Ballack. Or Mikel. So if he accepts he's sixth choice midfielder without a chance of breaking into the side (assuming he was ahead of Sidwell, which is debatable) then I don't see it an issue he feels he'd have more chance at Arsenal. Be pleased that a Chelsea 6th choice midfielder is good enouh for Arsenal if you like. It sounds like a categoric indictment of the standard at Arsenal to me.
Report Abuse
03/09/2007 16:59:00

Thanks for that inciteful piece squiddy old boy. It's not as simple as ranking by ability though, its more about the right type of player at the right time. Diarra is a Makelele/Gilberto type player primarily, and that's a unique position. Many of us here might place Gilberto, Denilson, Diaby, even Flamini, in front of Diarra in the ability stakes, but..... when you consider the uniqueness of the holding role, it may well be that he comes second to Gilberto, as Diaby/Denilson are more attack-minded. You seem to have Makelele, Essien, and Mikel in front of him in that role so he is less likely to get a game for you. Before writing him off though, you might want to wait and see if injuries affect you this year - you might just wish he stayed. You gloated when you 'offloaded' Gallas to us, but you could sure have used him last season. Shall we compare notes once we get towards the end of the season?
Report Abuse
03/09/2007 17:14:00

So thats why he was your young player of the year 2006 Squiddy? Oh and hello and good evening Gooners.
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03/09/2007 18:17:00

Fair enough, he's saying all the right things, but if it was Arsenal or nothing, why didn't he join us in the first place? He did actually choose Chelsea over Arsenal, so it dosn't really convince me when he talks about Arsenal being his only choice. Though the point about him not being good enough for Chelsea which is why he left, that's laugh out loud bad. There is no better set of midfielders than Arsenal's in the premiership, and that includes Chelsea, anyone sensible football fan regradless of which team they support, would agree with that, there may be midfields that equal Arsenal's, but none are better, so leaving Chelsea to Arsenal is in no way a step down, in fact he just probably wanted to play real football.
Professor Calculus
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03/09/2007 18:21:00

I agree Prof! A larger fan base, a larger stadium, more class and a higher trophy count never come into the argument did it ?.Oh and did I mention that we play the most attractive football too? I think he just thought F**K it I look nicer in red!
Report Abuse
03/09/2007 18:26:00

Smart kid. Welcome to the beautiful game finally. :)
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03/09/2007 18:39:00

I was right check out the official web site, he does look better in red and he`s smiling. Yeah Baby!
Report Abuse
03/09/2007 19:08:00

when diarra could have joined us the first time, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think neither Song or Flamini were at the club (or denilson) and maybe some of those players would not be at the club now. I think Diarra is certainly Gilberto's long term replacement.
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03/09/2007 21:50:00

why we love arsenal and possibly why diarra signed for us? let me quote our manager after the pompey game.... "Even at 3-1, 10 men, two minutes to go, we still try to go forward. I personally enjoy to watch my team play like that." so do we arsene, so do we.
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 03:27:00

Supersof, yeah, AW even went on saying "I'm proud of them because what they did today is what makes everybody love football." Spot on AW! And yes it's exactly why Diarra signed for us - to play beautiful football. Did you guys watch his partnership with Diaby in the France U21 team before? Heard they're like Vieira/Makelele. Maybe that's one of the reasons why AW rates him. CAN'T WAIT!!
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 03:40:00

The Arsenal official site still has pics of Diarra in a Chelsea jersey. Its reasonably straight forward to catch hold of the kid and click a few pics of him in the red and white, you'd think.
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04/09/2007 03:47:00

Squiddy, I think you're totally wrong in your ranking of Chelsea midfielders. The only one there who's really a holding midfielder is the aging Makelele, the rest prefer attacking, even if the long-term injured Ballack can do it. So can Essien, but Chelsea don't create anything if he's not playing further upfield. I think Chelsea need Diarra more than Arsenal, that's why it went to the last hour.
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04/09/2007 08:34:00

lol afri-gooner, but that's doesn't matter to Chelski, they never thought that Diarra was the replacement for Makelele, not even Ballack, they thought that Essien or even Mikel could do it. If not then oh well, another 2X million pounds to another player in a big club to ruin his carrer. (Maybe Cambiasso)
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 10:53:00

Diarra is a great signing for the Gunners. I think his arrival will result in Song and/or Flamini leaving, although Song is clearly the first option. I think of Diarra as Flamini with class :]
Aussie Gooner
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04/09/2007 11:42:00

You have made a very good and shrewd signing from us Arswipes. He will become a very good and important player for you, it's a shame he was never really given the chance in the Makka role at Chelsea but our loss is your gain.
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 12:31:00

Prits, that is France Jersey not Chelsea's.
Barnet Gooner
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04/09/2007 13:12:00

Thank you Dicksy! Your a credit to the blues fans.
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 15:53:00

Better to get something for him now if he didn't want to stay fair enough all the best.
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04/09/2007 15:53:00

LOL sw6cfc. Have a nice day!
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 16:50:00

1-0 to the ARSENAL
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 18:56:00

Diarra was ok, nothing more, nothing less, I wish him best of luck. Chances are he´ll get a better shot at your lot than at us.
Blue is the colour
Report Abuse
04/09/2007 21:28:00

I smell sour grapes here. But hey who isn't jealous of something next door... Some might be jealous of your roubles. But at Arsenal we probably have some of the most enviable assets - talent, history and class.
Report Abuse
05/09/2007 06:40:00,17033,8695_2705264,00.html
Blue is the colour
Report Abuse
05/09/2007 13:22:00

Louisa...don't overdo're sounding a bit desperate there...
Blue is the colour
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05/09/2007 13:24:00

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05/09/2007 17:29:00

Mikel is s***, the only reason he was ahead of Diarra is simply because he cost 16 million pounds. Pretty pathetic for a guy who gets slated by just about everyone every other match!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
05/09/2007 20:40:00

How you can call Mikel sh#t is beyond me his talent is there for all to see and being an Arswipe you should know better than anyone that you have to be patient with the young players.
Report Abuse
06/09/2007 09:41:00

yup..mikel is s***, no doubt about it.i don't know what's going to happen on the midfield. we got beto, fab, denny, diaby, flam, hleb, rossi, diarra and walcott(for a this season).hleb, rossi , fab and beto surely going to be first team. flam, denny, diarra, diaby and walcott going to be their cover. flam could be our utility player. i can't wait to see walcott upfront with RvP.denny getting better and better and tougher every single day. his pass and ballkeeping is getting great.diaby, well he is like patrick vieira. and diarra..we will see how he coupe with the arsenal style of play.i really think arsenal don't need anymore striker since their midfield player are high quality and top class player.the problem is now that we don't have players like Adams or Keown. Someone tall, sturdy and aggressive. but i see them in havard nordtviedt. cant wait to see him play.
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08/09/2007 06:36:00


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