Yesterday, Aurelio De Laurentiis said that Marouane Fellaini, while certainly the most visible, was not the only player being considered by Napoli to reinforce their midfield. Today, we found out who one of the other names on the list is, and that a move to Naples might be just what he's looking for.
Lassana Diarra, former star at Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Arsenal, has spent the last couple of years in Russia, first with Anji and now at Lokomotiv Moscow. He's been one of the best defensive midfielders in the country since his arrival, but now the 29 year old is looking to move on.
According to the Moscow Post, the relationship between Diarra and his manager, Leonid Kuciuc, has broken down rather dramatically in recent days, resulting in Diarra leaving Lokomotiv's training facilities and requesting a transfer out of the country. Napoli have reportedly made inquiries that were received well by the player, and the Post reports that the clubs are already in the early stages of negotiation.
The defensive midfielder is a pretty solid fit for what Napoli have been looking for: active, mobile, strong defender, good passer, and hungry for success. Diarra is considered a bit of a mercenary by some with how much he's moved around, but his best days came during a sustained period with Real Madrid before injuries and the purchase of more desired players reduced his playing time markedly.
Diarra moved to Lokomotiv for roughly €12 million a year ago and the French international helped his side to a third place finish. How much his club are asking for is unknown, but it seems likely they'd want to at least recoup his fee if at all possible. The exact cause of the split between Diarra and his club are unknown, but it is worth noting that the Russian league has struggled mightily with racism issues, making the problems Serie A have had in that area look tame in comparison. The problem hasn't been as bad in Moscow, but Diarra isn't the only player of African descent who wants out of Lokomotiv, as Mbuku Bussufa has left the club as well.