PSG close on signing of free agent midfielder Lassana Diarra – source


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PARIS — Free agent Lassana Diarra is closing in on a move to Paris Saint-Germain after coach Unai Emery convinced sporting director Antero Henrique that further depth was required in defensive midfield because of Thiago Motta’s fragility, a source has confirmed to ESPN FC.

Diarra, 32, has been unattached since his Al Jazira contract was rescinded before Christmas and PSG have been in talks with the player since before the January transfer window opened.

According to the source, PSG have convinced Diarra to join them and resist the interest of other parties, such as Premier League outfit Manchester United, but the France international had to convince Henrique and the Ligue 1 leaders’ medical staff of his physical condition.

Now that Diarra has done that, it is merely a matter of details before the move is ready to be completed.

Motta was expected to return to squad training on Friday but ultimately was not present while it was open to the press and the veteran Italian is unlikely to return to squad to face Lyon, so Adrien Rabiot or Giovani Lo Celso will likely deputise in the deep-lying midfield role once again.

Henrique was keen to hand Diarra a short-term deal, while the former Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea and Marseille man wanted 18 months with a lucrative salary. The source added that the two parties have now reached a compromise and the midfielder is expected to sign in the coming days.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.

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