Former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra has signed for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer. The France international has signed a one-and-a-half year deal with the Ligue 1 champions.
Diarra was initially touted as ‘the new Claude Makelele’ while making a name for himself at Le Havre in his native country – leading to interest from Chelsea. The 32-year-old midfielder has signed with the club until the end of the 2019 season, marking a return to Ligue 1 after playing at Al Jazira. Paris Saint-Germain have announced the signing of former Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra.
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The 32-year-old French international was available on a free transfer and has signed a deal which ties him to PSG until the end of the 2018-19 season. Diarra has been a free agent since leaving Al Jazira last month and boosts the midfield options of the Ligue 1 leaders, although PSG coach Unai Emery previously indicated he would not be looking to make signings during the January transfer window.
However, injuries meant the young Frenchman was forced to deputise at right-back in his second season, largely limiting his progress. Aware his contract was about to run out, the Blues sold him to Arsenal in August 2007. Again, his first-team opportunities were limited so Diarra moved to Portsmouth in January 2008 where he was revered for his solid defensive performances in midfield.
Although he impressed at Fratton Park, the lure of playing for Real Madrid was too strong and he moved to Spain in December 2008 for around €20 million. Moves to Anzhi Makhachkala and Lokomotiv Moscow followed before completing a return to France in 2015 with Marseille. Initially, the midfielder rediscovered something of his best form – even being made captain at the start of the 2016-17 season.
However, a troublesome knee injury saw his game time limited and he was released before a move to Al-Jazira in the UAE followed in April last year.
“We are delighted to welcome Lassana Diarra, a quality footballer, to Paris Saint-Germain,” PSG CEO and chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.
“His vast experience, both of foreign leagues and the international football with the France national team, gives our coaching staff another option as we enter a very exciting second half of the season.
“I know that Lassana is very ambitious, like everyone here. Our fans at the Parc des Princes really love players that hail from the Paris region. I know they will give him a warm welcome and the strength to help our team reach its objectives.”
Diarra’s career began in Ligue 1 with Le Havre, but was soon on the move to England, where he had stints with Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth before a move to Real Madrid in 2009, where he featured until 2012.