Wenger's foresight may provide Diarra tonic

Hindsight is a wonderful thing – it’s what makes us all wise after the event.

Every single Gooner would have told Arsène Wenger to keep Lassana Diarra last January, especially when Mathieu Flamini’s contract situation had not yet been resolved.

The fact that Real Madrid are now signing him for what has been reported to be up to £24m underlines how much quality he has shown when given the chance to have a run of games.

With the team riding high at the top of the Premiership and with two other players ahead of him in Flamini and Gilberto, and Alex Song as a willing understudy, Wenger probably sought to maintain the status quo and get rid of anyone who may threaten the club’s momentum.

As it was, Martin Taylor did that with his tackle on Eduardo, but that’s another story.

But Wenger, the gentleman he is, would never utter bad words about his own players, past or present, when it seems clear that he saw Diarra as a disruptive influence.

Despite his size, Diarra has shown in the year he has been at Portsmouth all the qualities we have missed – tenacity, positional sense, calmness under pressure and an eye for goal from central midfield.

Every side needs someone who chips in with three or four goals in the centre but essentially does a blocking job and allows the likes of Cesc to play.

Two years in, how many of us would have thought that Flamini would have had such a superb season last year after the indifference of his previous midfield sorties? I fear Wenger is waiting for the same transformation from Song.

Diarra also never settled at Ch*vski or Arsenal, hinting at a problem in his own personality – and remember he only joins Madrid because of a serious injury to Mahamadou Diarra – and when the Mali international returns, his guaranteed place will once again be under threat.

There have been many reports regarding the price Diarra will cost Real Madrid – ranging between £18-£24m and I hope that those negotiations have been due to the sell-on clause Arsenal put in Diarra’s contract.

Hopefully Le Boss will come out and confirm that he ensured the young French international, who made no secret himself of using Pompey as a stepping stone, had a sell-on clause to ensure more income for the Gunners.

Certainly it was an oversight if not, and given the price of players, will give us some handy cash to go out and buy his and Flamini’s replacement if Wenger sees the same game we do.

Wenger is an intelligent man.

Let’s hope he knows who he wants and signs them in the first week of January – and a Diarra clone would go down very nicely indeed.