Arsenal to battle with City for their former midfielder

Arsenal could be set to give Lassana Diarra a second spell at the Emirates Stadium - but face competition for his signature.

Diarra, now 28, originally signed for the Gunners from rivals Chelsea in 2007, but made only 13 appearances under Arsene Wenger and was promptly sold to Portsmouth for £5.5m. His career since then has taken him to Spanish giants Real Madrid, and then to Russia with both Anzhi Makhachkala and most recently, Lokomotiv Moscow.

But after just four months with Lokomotiv, a return to England may be on the cards, with Wenger and Manuel Pellegrini reportedly lining up moves for the French international. It's believed that, whilst Diarra is currently happy in Russia, a move back to the Premier League could interest him, particularly with both sides going well in the Champions League.

Arsenal have already found a defensive midfield option in the shape of a former Gunner, as Mathieu Flamini returned to the Emirates Stadium in the summer and has protected the back four well - when he's been healthy. Flamini's injury problems have reared their head again, and Wenger may look to pursue another natural holding midfielder in the January Transfer Window.

It's something of a surprise to see Wenger attempt to reunite with Diarra, having used him so infrequently during his first spell with the club. Diarra was just 22 years old when he left the Emirates, and has developed into a well-rounded holding midfielder, and his progression over the years may have gained Wenger's attention once again.

Meanwhile, City have been seeking a defensive midfielder since the departure of Nigel de Jong, and whilst they bought Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho in the summer for £30m, but Pellegrini's side are in need of an enforcer to protect the back four. City's attack has been firing on all cylinders so far this season, but defensively – particularly away from home – they have been somewhat shaky. Adding a holding midfield player such as Diarra would not only solidify the midfield, but would also free up Yaya Toure to drive forward to attack.

Diarra moved to Lokomotiv in August for a reported £10m, and there have been no reports of how much the Russians would want in order to part with Diarra. They would surely at least want their money back, and both Arsenal and City should have no problems matching their asking price. It would then be up to Diarra to decide whether his future lies with Wenger – once again – or Pellegrini.

image: © Free-ers

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