Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Arsenal - Lehmann Out, Diarra To Follow

Arsenal outcast Jens Lehmann has agreed to switch the Gunners with his former club Borussia Dortmund. The 38 year-old goalkeeper has only a few small details to sort out before his transfer is officially announced.

The Germany number one was first-choice keeper at Arsenal until earlier this season when two early-season errors saw him lose his place to longtime backup goalie Manuel Almunia. Almunia's form has seen Lehmann relegated to the bench for most of the season, although the German international did feature last weekend in an FA Cup victory over Burnley.

Lehmann has not been gracious about his second-choice place, openly criticizing Almunia and even Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Already past his peak, Lehmann would not have lasted much longer in London. His transfer is a good move for both clubs, the player, and the Arsenal fans.

22 year-old Lassana Diarra is also likely to leave the club soon, after being left out of both of Arsenal's cup games this week. The French international regularly features for his country, but has found it difficult to displace any of the members of an Arsenal midfield already laden with young talent.

The holding midfielder joined Arsenal from Chelsea this summer, hoping to find regular first-team football, but has failed to break into the mold. Diarra is still highly rated and many Premiership clubs, as well as French champions Lyon are reportedly interested in the Arsenal midfielder. Among the Premiership clubs seeking his signature are Newcastle, Portsmouth, Manchester City, and Arsenal's North London rivals, Tottenham.

Diarra has publicly stated that he would like to leave Arsenal, and it seems that it will be only a matter of time before he leaves the Emirates.