On this day: Lassana Diarra happy at Portsmouth amid Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur interest

On this day in 2008, Lassana Diarra revealed he wanted to stay at Pompey.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 10:37 am
Lassana Diarra gets past Rio Ferdinand during Pompey's FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester United in 2008. Picture: Steve Reid

The Blues midfielder promised he was happy at Fratton Park in the wake of interest from Manchester City.

Diarra indicated he would only be interested in a move to the clubs he regarded as the four biggest in the world – Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea.

Mark Hughes wanted to make Diarra his first signing as City manager and was prepared to follow that up with an £8m offer.

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But Pompey made it clear they were not willing to consider cashing in on one of their star assets.

Sources close to Diarra said the player believed a move to Eastlands would represent a backward step.

And they said he was perfectly happy at Pompey – a club who echoed his own ambition and drive after winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the UEFA Cup 2008-09 season.

Harry Redknapp had already indicated he would not stand in the player’s way if one of the world’s heavyhitters were to come knocking.

Diarra would not consider a switch to Italy because of the history of racism in Serie A.

The French international quickly became a huge favourite with Redknapp and built a close bond with his manager.

That had grown to the extent the Blues boss insisted Diarra will have a guaranteed place in his starting 11.

Diarra started all but two games over the second half of the 2007-08 season, making a total of 17 appearances and scoring two goals.

His performances at Pompey saw his reputation in the game escalate.

But he was happy at Fratton after failing to get regular first-team football at former clubs Chelsea and Arsenal.

Spurs had also been linked with a move for the Frenchman, but that talk was emphatically shot down by the Blues’ chief executive Peter Storrie.

He revealed there had been no enquiry for any members of the Pompey squad.

Storrie said: ‘No-one has contacted us at the moment.

‘No-one has contacted us over any players.’