Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Friday January 4 2008
Arsene Wernger was not talking about any part of the male anatomy when he said it was long and hard, he was talking about his fight to sign Lasanna Diarra in the summer.
Diarra has made no secret of his frustration at his lack of playing time since he arrived, and has hinted that he may leave Arsenal in January.
The French midfielder is compared to compatriot Claude Makalele in his homeland, but has yet to earn a regular first team place at Arsenal.
The tough tackling youngster has impressed when given a chance, but not sufficently enough to dislodge Fabregas or the ever-imporving Flamini from the starting XI.
Although playing time has been limited, his manager has clearly stated on several occasions that he has an important role to play in the squad.
In recent weeks Diarra has been linked with Spurs, and it was even suggested that our little neighbours had put in an offer for Diarra.
Wenger denied that though, and insisted that he wants to keep Lasanna: 'I had nobody from Spurs on the phone and I didn't reject any bids from Spurs.
'We'll keep [our conversations] close and what we do inside [the club] - but if you ask my opinion, I want him to stay.
'You don't make a player come on August 31 and then want to sell him on January 1. I want to keep Diarra, but we'll see.
'The bad luck is that he arrived when our training had started. I rate him highly and, if it's down to me, I want him to stay.
'I can understand his frustration because he is worried about the national team, but I bought him in and it was long, hard work to get him here.'
Date:Friday January 4 2008
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