By support

4th Jan, 2017 | 10:37am

Mourinho wants reunion with France international midfielder, Schneiderlin replacement - report

By Matt Farr

Former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra is on the radar of Manchester United – according to a report.

The Sun, citing Foot Mercato, claim that the Gunners flop, who made just 12 appearances during his time at the Emirates, has emerged as a shock transfer target for Jose Mourinho’s side.

34-time France international Diarra is a two-time associate of Mourinho, having played under him at both Chelsea and Real Madrid, and the Portuguese boss has reportedly lined up the 31-year-old as a replacement for Morgan Schneiderlin.

Schneiderlin has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford having made just eight appearances in all competitions this season, and could leave the club this month.

After a forgettable five-month spell at Arsenal in 2007, Diarra established himself as a key player at Portsmouth – then a Premier League force – and helped inspire them to an FA Cup crown in 2008.

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He then earned a sensational move to Real Madrid, where he had to work hard to convince the Bernabeu following. It was tough for the Frenchman to land a regular starting role due to the presence of some of the world’s biggest stars at the club.

After falling down the pecking order, Diarra quit the club in August 212, where he joined Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, with subsequent spells at Lokomotiv Moscow, and currently Marseille.

Football Insider verdict

Man United have already rejected one offer for Morgan Schneiderlin, but if Everton get close to what United paid for him, he might leave and Jose Mourinho could look to replace him. Diarra has international, Premier League and Champions League experience, but may not quite be what the fans are expecting in the transfer market. He could still do a reasonable job at Manchester United, but he would not be able to hold down a regular first-team place at Old Trafford. That suggests that if the report is true Mourinho may only be looking at Diarra as a squad player, rather than someone who would have any real impact on the first-team setup – very similar to Schneiderlin’s current role. Diarra has played under Mourinho twice before and is finding life tough at Marseille, and would be tempted by a reunion with his former boss, but there could well be better targets out there.

In other Man United news, Gary Neville has singled out five players responsible for the club’s transformation.