On this day: Portsmouth favourite poised for Real Madrid move 

Lassana Diarra in action against Liverpool. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Lassana Diarra in action against Liverpool. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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On this day in 2008, The News revealed Lassana Diarra was poised to join Real Madrid for a fee of around £21.5m.

Pompey had shaken hands with the Spanish giants on a record-breaking deal for the midfield star.

The transfer would be the Blues’ club-record fee received – dwarfing Sulley Muntari’s £14m switch to Inter the previous summer.

It would also represent a whopping £16m profit on the midfield maestro in a single calendar year, after Harry Redknapp snapped up Diarra from Arsenal for a bargain price of £5.5m.

Rumours had emerged the previous day linking the Frenchman with a £9m move to the Bernabeu.

Many Blues fans were incensed at reports suggesting Pompey would settle for such a small fee in January.

And the club’s executive chairman Peter Storrie branded rumours of the 23-year-old being sold for the figure as ‘ laughable’.

Madrid boss Juande Ramos had openly admitted his desire to take Diarra to the Bernabeu – especially after the loss of Mahamadou Diarra to injury – while Manchester City had also been monitoring him.

The former Spurs boss said: ‘The big players are already in the Champions League and cannot be signed.

‘But Diarra is a player I know well and I would like a player like him here.’

However, any thoughts of the Spaniard landing the talent for a cut-price £9m deal were quickly dispelled.

Storrie told The News: ‘That figure is laughable, absolutely laughable.’

The France international had been a massive hit since arriving at Fratton Park.

He became an immediate hero on the south coast as he inspired Pompey to the FA Cup and eighth place in the Premier League.