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Monday, December 22, 2008

Diarra agrees to join Real Madrid

Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra has agreed a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, subject to passing a medical on Monday.

The 23-year-old is set to sign a four-and-a-half-year deal at the Bernabeu.

Pompey had already accepted Real's bid - reported to be £20m - for Diarra but there was still interest from other clubs, including Manchester City.

Diarra will officially become a Real player when the transfer window reopens on 1 January.

The France international started his career with Le Havre before signing for Chelsea in 2005. He moved to the Gunners on the final day of the August 2007 transfer window but left for Pompey five months later.

"We have always said that we would only allow our players to leave if we received an exceptional bid," a Pompey spokesman told the club's website earlier in the week.

"We could not stand in the way of a move such as this for Lassana.

"It shows how far the club has come under the ownership of Alexandre Gayadamak when Real Madrid come in for one of our players.

"Should the deal be completed, we have already identified possible replacements."

Pompey boss Tony Adams said he will have all of the money from Diarra's sale to sign new players.

"It's a substantial offer. Every penny is mine, and I had money before that, so I am delighted," said Adams on Wednesday.

"Every decision at this club will be through me and when Real Madrid offers a lot of money for one of your players I have a decision to make.

"The lad wants to play for Real Madrid and it's a magnificent offer that will get me some recruitments for Portsmouth."

Diarra came on as a substitute in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Bolton to make his first appearance since 15 November following an ankle injury.

Real are now coached by former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos and want a defensive midfielder because Mali international Mahamadou Diarra is sidelined for the season after undergoing knee surgery.

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