By Site reporter
Friday 23 May 2008 22:38:00
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It's the question on everyone's lips: Will Lassana Diarra still be at Pompey come the start of next season?

The French starmade no secret of the fact he saw his move to Fratton as a stepping stone to bigger things - nothing wrong with that, most would say, although others might have thought him wise to keep quieter about his intentions.

There's no questioning his impact at Fratton, with the midfielder the driving force behind the FA Cup run and the push for a top-six finish which fell just short in the league.

Now all eyes are on the papers in the hope that none of the bigger clubs at home or abroad swoop for the 22-year-old, who seems certain to play a key role for his country when Euro 2008 gets under way in a fortnight.

Our view is that he will give it another season at Pompey, as - we think - will Niko Kranjcar. Both know they will be automatic choices at Pompey, yet guaranteed nothing on a bigger stage. And with time on their side, why go somewhere that - as Diarra found at Chelsea and then at Arsenal - their chances could well be curtailed.

One of Diarras's fellow midfielders from the Cup final, Pedro Mendes, believes the Frenchman can be a big player for Pompey again next season.

'Diarra is a very good player,” said Mendes on www.portsmouthfc.co.uk. 'He can play in the holding role or he can push forward more. He can shift it around a bit. He’s young as well so he can get even better.

'It’s good to have a player like him in the squad and it’s good to be able to play alongside someone like him. I’m sure he will improve even more.

'He’s a fantastic player and I hope he can be a big star in the European Championships this summer.'

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger seems to think Diarra would have been better off in the reserve team of the trophyless Gunners last season rather than starring week in week out for the FA Cup winners.

Wenger said: 'I came to the conclusion that Diarra could not cope with the fact he was behind the other players here in midfield.

'I thought the best option was to let him go because I already had Denilson, (Abou) Diaby and Gilberto all trying to get into the team as well. It was a congestion.

'I bought Diarra in the summer because I thought (Mathieu) Flamini might leave at the end of the season and if he was able to be patient, he would get his chance.

'It turned out he wasn't capable of that. With Euro 2008 in mind, he panicked. I did explain when he joined that he might have to be patient, and he acknowledged it, but he couldn't cope with the situation and also did not want to go on loan anywhere, either.' 

What's your view on Diarra's future and Wenger's comments? Tell us on the messageboard - see links below.


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