19-year-old Strasbourg midfielder Habib Diarra is attracting interest from Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, according to Foot Mercato who over the weekend have qualified for the qualification rounds of next season’s Champions’ League.
Diarra has been a major beneficiary following the arrival of manager Frédéric Antonetti, who bedded him into the starting XI upon his arrival at the club – this, combined with the return to form of Senegalese international centre-forward Habib Diallo, who has scored 13 league goals in the second half of this season, has taken RCSA close to confirmed safety with 2 matches left to play.
Diarra was given his professional debut by former manager Julien Stéphan, but it has been under the Corsican tactician that the midfielder has flourished. Since his return on March 5th from a hamstring injury, the U18 international midfielder has excelled in all midfield positions, from #6 to #8, to the shadow striker behind Habib Diallo. A versatility that he owes as much to his qualities as a ball-player, as to his ability to project forward and make impact in the duels thanks to an impressive natural explosiveness.
With a good margin for progression, the native of Dakar, is the youngest player from Strasbourg to reach 30 professional matches by the age of 19 since Christophe Niesser in 1985. He is being followed very closely by the Senegalese international team, and as the son of Samba Diarra (who earned two caps with Senegal) and he could succumb to the approaches from his country of origin and why not as soon as June 12th against Benin. A busy end to the season therefore for this RSCA youth academy product, with some observers upset by his absence from the shortlist for UNFP young player of the year.
According to the outlet, Habib Diarra who scored 3 goals and provided 2 assists in his last 6 Ligue 1 encounters, has caught the eye of Marseille in recent weeks. OM are understood to have been very impressed by his profile, versatility and above all his room for improvement. At the moment, he is only on the OM shortlist and not yet a priority target – the shortlist includes Chelsea midfielder Denis Zakaria and a former Ligue 1 player whose name has not yet filtered through, but there is no doubt that Habib Diarra has impressed again this Sunday vs Troyes.
James Thorpe | GFFN