Arsenal - Wenger: It Was Long And Hard
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Wenger: It Was Long And Hard

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.'

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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 4 2008

Time: 7:55PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Why didn't anyone else go in for Diarra during the summer if he was available for 2 million? Diarra is a pain the arse(nal). He has undoubted talent and I understand his concerns but he should be willing to fight for his place if he ever wants to make it at any big club. He is good enough to stay at Arsenal and would like him to stay.
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04/01/2008 20:05:00

Hey Simmo why did you pick this image for the article? Like Arsene said, he received no bid from Spurs and so Diarra, no matter how unsettled, has got nothing to do with them.
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04/01/2008 20:16:00

I think we'll need Diarra next season. Flamini doesn't seem in the least bit interested in signing a new deal & fair play to him, especially as Wenger was prepared to let him go. Wenger may have said he wanted him to stay but he never really made that much of an effort to keep him & now Flamini is in the driving seat & probably sees Juventus as a great club to join.
Ashburton Gooner
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04/01/2008 20:27:00

Lou, I used that because we don't have a picture of Diarra in an Arsenal shirt and he's linked with them...
Report Abuse
04/01/2008 20:44:00

You don't think Flamini will sign a new contract? I beleive he will to be honest, he is playing regular football at a big club. You have to earn your way into a club so i don't get the 'fair play part' either.
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04/01/2008 21:27:00

well honestly i dunno about flamini normally he should extend his conrtact but he seems reluctant to do it i mean he is saying i wanna focus on playing matches and keeping arsenal on top,does signing a contract would really distract him???
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04/01/2008 21:46:00

both of em will stay n i'm sure we'll se both of em in the 1st team alternating.. if wenger has come out in the public n said that he rates diarra, surely diarra will stay.. we're extremely strong in defensive midfield n the only player who will leave is gilberto, maybe at the end.. flamini will get his raise n so he's just delaying the inevitable
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04/01/2008 21:46:00

Gunners, I said 'fair play' to flamini because he has waited patiently at Arsenal for his chance without whining or coming out in the press & saying promises were broken etc. Therefore the fact his contract has run down & he IS considering going elsewhere is fair enough. Juventus are a massive club & they have shown they want him so there is nothing to say he wouldn't get games for them. Arsenal on the other hand were not interested in extending his contract before this current season, so I can understand why he is keeping the club hanging on. Maybe he will re-sign, but considering we were willing to flog him off to Birmingham in the summer, he probably feels he would be better appreciated elsewhere.
Ashburton Gooner
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04/01/2008 22:18:00

I would agree, personally, I think Flam would be mad to move having just established himself, but if he did, I certainly couldn't complain. Personally, I never really believed in him, but AG is right he has been humble and waited and if he moves, fair play because he's been very loyal. But Diarra would be mental to move, with Flam's future undecided and Gilberto almost certain to move, Diarra would be very, very stupid to go just yet.
Little Dutch
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04/01/2008 22:40:00

LD, totally agree. Diarra just has to look at Flamini to see what can happen if you apply yourself properly, why he feels the constant need to complain to the press is beyond me & just makes him look an idiot. No big club would gurantee a place in the side, so Diarra's only option would be to go to a lesser club & that won't gurantee keeping your international place, especially with that idiot managing France. As for Flamini, I'm with you on that aswell, I never rated him & I'm still not convinced this season isn't a 'one off' so to speak, but fair play all the same he has been superb so far. I'd still prefer Diarra in the team though.
Ashburton Gooner
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04/01/2008 22:50:00

Players like Diarra need to be spanked. Look at Diaby and Denilson, aint they waiting too? For GOD's sake he just came few months ago and he is yapping already instead of being patient. Btw, even if Flamini leaves am cool with it too especially we have other players coming through and we have money to buy too!!! Hey AW, let's watch ACN and fish out some more players..LOL.
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05/01/2008 00:26:00

It's times like this I admire Denilson so much.He hasn't featured much in his time at Arsenal and yet he's kept his mouth quiet. He knows Wenger rates him highly and if he's patient he'll get his chance.
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05/01/2008 02:38:00

I want him to stay but if he doesn't then we should sell him to Lyon and get Benzema off them.
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05/01/2008 02:49:00

Flamini does want to stay, considering that he's just earned a place in the starting XI, he's genuinely friends with Cesc, Hleb, Rosicky, etc. off the pitch and he's starting to get chances with the France team as well. He's probably not signing the contract just yet to get the best deal from the club, which is fine, as long as he conducts himself professionally on and off the pitch, which he does. Diarra has shut up since Arsene spoke out about competition is part and parcel of their job, etc. And I'm glad to see the kid got a chance in some games even after his comments. He'll hopefully learn from that mistake. Let's not pass judgement just yet.
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05/01/2008 03:06:00

The thing is with the current situation, is that Diarra needs to be more intelligent about this. If he can't see it and wants to leave, then he obviously doesn't believe in himself enough, which means he ain't Arsenal material. Don't get me wrong, I've been really impressed with his performances and think he's a top player, but you know the old saying, if you can't stand the heat, don't holiday in Jamaica. Flamini should be an example to him not a threat.
Little Dutch
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05/01/2008 10:50:00

Does anyone know if Carlos Vela is actually back with us for the rest of the season from now? I just saw some footage of Osasuna v Real Madrid and he looked really impressive.
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05/01/2008 12:35:00

Vela isn't coming back to Arsenal this season. I don't know why that rumour was ever started as the whole work permit situation would be a joke & he can get a spanish passport in the summer & not need to worry about them. Wenger confirmed he wasn't coming back on Thursday.
Ashburton Gooner
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05/01/2008 13:00:00

Even if he does come back, he can hardly make a significant impact this season. He'll require time to settle in and at most he'll play a couple of CC matches (assuming we beat Sp*rs of course). So I wouldn't put my hopes on Vela coming back let alone make an impact on our season.
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05/01/2008 13:58:00,19793,12087_3022311,00.html Spanish expert Guillem Balague gives his view on Vela. According to him, Vela is very pacy, skillful and has an eye for goal. Will look forward to see him in the CC next season!
Report Abuse
05/01/2008 14:01:00

So the spuds are still to win in 2008 & Huddlestone is out of the CC semi first leg after his sending off.
Ashburton Gooner
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05/01/2008 16:56:00

Is that more of a loss for us or them AG? ;)
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05/01/2008 17:55:00

Well although on the whole Huddlestone is rubbish, he's probably the only midfielder at spurs that can pass the ball.
Ashburton Gooner
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05/01/2008 18:08:00

you really got to love tottenham and their fans. They make 50% of the fun in this league.
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05/01/2008 20:14:00

does this mean he wont come on loan?
Report Abuse
05/01/2008 23:13:00

ive just bin in a restaurant with Lassy D. Said hi, of course. welll.... he seemed happy... hope he stays
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06/01/2008 00:21:00

ArsenalRob, you should have spanked him a lil' bit for yapping about lacking opportunities ;)
Report Abuse
06/01/2008 06:44:00

Really looking forward to seeing Vela next season, I actually think he'll be fairly prominent for us, having spent a couple of seasons in Spain. Just seen the team for the Burnley game and disappointed that Diarra isn't starting. Perhaps he's being saved for Carling Cup on Wednesday.
Report Abuse
06/01/2008 13:57:00

Eduardo is just CLASS!!!!
Report Abuse
06/01/2008 14:12:00

Off topic - but this story is really hilarious and Zizou's such a LEGEND!
Report Abuse
06/01/2008 16:52:00

Diarra wasn't even on the bench against Burnley. Was he injured or sick? If not, it's looking more likely he will be leaving the club. It's as shame, he's a talented player.
Report Abuse
07/01/2008 00:40:00

BMF, he is probably rested so that he is fresh for CC game against the Spuds.
Report Abuse
07/01/2008 01:33:00

Hopefully Diarra will stay. Bags of talent in him. Don't want to see him go to the Spuds either if he decides to leave.
Report Abuse
07/01/2008 20:38:00

I don't think he'll go to the Spuds straight away. He might do an Heinze.
Report Abuse
08/01/2008 02:47:00


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