Date: 19th January 2006 at 3:57pm
Written by:

Chelsea and Manchester United are set to go head-to-head for Mahamadou Diarra in the summer.

Diarra is the star of Lyon’s passage into the knockout phase of the Champions League. But the 24-year-old is looking to the Premiership, Spain or Italy next term.

However, it is the lure of England which attracts the Mali man most. Manchester United made an initial inquiry last summer, and Guerra thinks a dream switch to the Premiership is most likely.

Guerra: ‘The Premiership is, by far, his favourite league. I can’t confirm that he will play there next year, but he would like to.

‘Mahamadou is the best defensive midfielder in Europe. We know that Chelsea are looking for a player to replace Claude Makelele, who is getting older.

‘Last summer there was contact with Manchester United, and we also know that Manchester United are looking for a defensive midfielder to replace Roy Keane.

‘Besides, Real Madrid haven’t got a defensive midfielder. It would be logical for Mahamadou to play for one of those teams.’

Ferguson has already ruled out Thomas Gravesen and Michael Ballack because they are too old, yet it is known the Red Devils chief is looking for a midfield reinforcement following the recent arrivals of defensive duo Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.