19-year-old midfield talent Habib Diarra is seeking to force an exit from BlueCo owned Ligue 1 club Strasbourg, two months after he was told by his club that he was going to be retained, despite interest from elsewhere, and become a key part of Patrick Vieira’s side.
L’Équipe report tonight that the player is now seeking to force an exit. The fact that he was missing from the Strasbourg XIs that played Werder Bremen and SC Freiburg in friendly matches had less to do with the player’s transfer situation and more to do with the fact that he is suspended from the first day of Ligue 1 action in the club’s opener vs Lyon on Sunday night. Vieira wanted to give his starting XI as much playing time as possible.
However, Vieira is also frustrated with the 19-year-old’s attitude and told the teenager as much last week. After performing poorly in training and not giving his full focus in pre-season, Diarra told Strasbourg president Marc Keller that he wants to leave and join a club with European football to offer in the 2023/24 campaign.
Diarra’s priority is RC Lens, who are playing in the Champions’ League this season. Franck Haise is still hoping to bring in an additional defensive-minded midfielder before the end of the window. Diarra saw Strasbourg reject two bids from Lens at the end of June, with the second of those proposals being worth €14m excluding bonuses.
Strasbourg were not against a departure in winter when he had made just four starts for the club, but now they are – they want to keep him. In an attempt to encourage Diarra to stay earlier this summer, Marc Keller brought up what the BlueCo consortium could add to his career in terms of value. BlueCo are in agreement with Keller – the player is very important and they don’t want to lose him, to the point that they offered him a consequential salary increase.
The player is not interested. Diarra will play for Strasbourg’s reserves against Sarre-Union in a friendly on Saturday. Aside from the interest for Lens, Burnley and Wolfsburg have approached the player. Juventus’ new Sporting Director, Cristiano Giuntoli, has put the player on his shortlist alongside Bayern Munich duo Ryan Gravenberch and Leon Goretzka.
AC Milan, Napoli and AS Roma have all also scouted the player. Under contract until June 2027, the Franco-Senegalese midfielder would like Strasbourg to open the door to an exit. RCSA have spent more than €50m over the course of the window and if the player gives them no choice, they will consider his sale if bids reach at least €20m.
GFFN | James Thorpe