Arsenal’s need for defensive help is no secret, and the number of defensive midfielders and central defenders linked with the London club is a long one.
The latest rumblings have the Gunners linked with Bordeaux captain Alou Diarra. It is not surprising to see Diarra linked with a potential move to the Emirates, but how good of a fit would he be.
At 6'3", Diarra is a tremendous physical specimen. His strength along with his athletic ability has drawn comparisons to former Arsenal great Patrick Vierra. Based on physical presence alone, Diarra would be a good addition to the Arsenal squad.
His ball skills are also very good, as he is above average at taking on defenders and making the passes required to link the defense to the attack.
These attributes also fit the Arsenal mold, but perhaps the biggest asset he could bring would be leadership.
Diarra has been captain for both club and country. He has won two Ligue 1 titles with Bordeaux in 2009 and Lyon in 2007, and he competed in both European and World Cup competition. His experience in fighting for titles would be a welcome addition to the silverware-seeking Gunners.
While he has many positives, there are some negatives to Diarra. He will be 30 years old this summer, and is more than likely on the downward trend of his career.
He was at Liverpool from 2002-05, but does not have Premier League experience as he was loaned back to France all three seasons.
During his one season at Lyon, he complained about playing time, igniting a feud between him and then-Lyon coach Gerard Houllier. This led to him being dropped to the reserve team, where Diarra refused to play. After being left out of the next five matches, Diarra was finally put back in the squad.
Overall, Diarra would be a solid signing for the Gunners. He would provide competition and cover for Song, leadership, experience and a defensive-minded physical presence.
His purchase would only be as a complementary player, and a short term rental of no more than two to three years at best.
While I do not believe Diarra is the player who would put Arsenal over the top, he would be a solid addition, and along with a few other pieces, could provide the steel Arsene Wenger needs in his team to end the title drought.