Arsenal to re-sign former midfielder who once cost €20m for free?

Lassana Diarra

Arsenal have been linked with re-signing Lassana Diarra.

Could Arsenal pick up Lassana Diarra on a free transfer?

The former French international has been linked with a surprise return to the Emirates by The Mail, with the Gunners lacking depth in the defensive midfield position.

Diarra is a free agent after leaving Lokomotiv Moscow due to a dispute with the club's management, and is still only 29-year-old.

He played for Arsenal briefly in 2007 after signing from Chelsea, but was sold to Portsmouth half a season later after making only 12 appearances.

His performances at Fratton Park earned €20 million move to Real Madrid, where he won two domestic trophies before leaving for Russia.

However, whether he still has a lot to offer, and how quickly he could get match fit and sharp is open to question, certainly for the high intensity the Gunners faithful demand.

A look at his statistics in the Russian Premier League last season show a player who at times was found wanting.

In 12 starts for Lokomotiv Moscow, Diarra was sent off on three separate occasions.

He averaged 1.3 interceptions per game, and 1.9 tackles per game. These are figures which are not necessarilu upgrades on the performances of Arsenal midfielders in 2013/14.

  TeamInterceptions / appsWon Tackles / appsApps
Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2.03 2.29 31
Mathieu Flamini Arsenal 1.44 0.93 27
Santiago Cazorla Arsenal 1.00 1.16 31
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal 1.00 2.83 23
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal 0.93 0.43 14
Tomas Rosicky Arsenal 0.59 0.70 27
Jack Wilshere Arsenal 0.42 1.13 24

Both Arteta and Flamini ranked higher than Diarra in terms of interceptions, and Arteta and Ramsey outdid him in terms of tackles won.

Bearing in mind the English Premier League is regarded as a more difficult league than the Russian equivalent, Diarra's performances are not necessarily greatly impressive, especially when factoring in the red cards.

Arsenal would really be better off waiting until January and spending money to buy a defensive midfielder, than a panic job with Diarra right now.

If they make any free agent signings, defence is the place they most urgently need, and Diarra does not fit that need.


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