Wednesday, 22nd June, 2011

Stoke City have been put in the driving seat for defensive midfielder Mahamadou Diarra.

The former Real Madrid schemer joined Monaco in January, but was unable to help keep the principality club in Ligue 1. And with his short-term deal at the French side having ended, Diarra is ready to head to the Premier League, putting Stoke City in pole position for his signature.

"I have several contacts", Diarra was quoted as commenting by Maxifoot, "but England is my priority.

"If I don’t get injured then I will produce a big season."

The 30-year-old turned out nine times for Monaco in their ill-fated season run-in; a good spell of first team football for a player who had slipped off the radar at Real Madrid.

Diarra signed for the Spanish giants in 2006 after a series of superb performances with Lyon had made the Mali international one of the most feared midfield enforcers in European football.

Following two action-packed seasons at the Bernabeu though, Diarra’s career nosedived through injuries and the arrival of reinforcements at the Spanish side; In 2010/11 he featured just eight times for Jose Mourinho’s men.

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