Date:Thursday May 22 2008
Everyone has an opinion on Lassana Diarra, he knows and we all know that the he is a class act so keeping hold of him will be a challenge, but it is not an impossible one - and if he is a man of his word then he will be staying for next season anyway, as he has said he will be...
Pedro Mendes got a rare start alongside him in the cup final - something which I have struggled to understand why we had not seen more of this since Diarra signed, as the pair have looked fantastic when they have been in the same side! - and he has spoken to the Pompey Site to heap further praise on the French international: 'Lassana is a good player. He is young as well so he can get even better.
'He can play in the holding role or he can push forward more. He can shift it around a bit.
'It's good to have a player like him in the squad and it's good to be able to play alongside someone like him. I'm sure he will improve even more.
'He's a fantastic player and I hope he can be a big star in the European Championships this summer.'
Mendes will forever be a fans favourite for the part that he played in our 'great escape' of 2005/06 - in many ways he was the architect of all that has been great for Pompey over the past couple of years, culminating in the FA cup win! Without his thunderbolts against Citeh on that memorable day in 2006 the chances are we would have been relegated that season, but from that day on the only way has been up, and hopefully he will remain part of this forward movement...
The reception that he got against Fulham, and the way he reacted to us as he went off in that game to me had the look of a fella that knew that was the final time that he would be performing at Fratton - but maybe this is not the case afterall as winning the cup visible meant the world to him and the thought of uefa cup football with Pompey also seems a great prospect for him: 'to win the FA Cup is fantastic for everyone involved with the club. I'm delighted that we could do it.
'The fans are always behind us wherever we play and we didn't expect anything less in the final. They were as good as they always are at Wembley.
'The next step for everyone at Pompey is Europe.
'To bring European football to Fratton Park really is a great achievement and I think everyone is looking forward to it.'
Unless he is merely saying what he is saying about next seasons uefa cup from a 'what it will mean to the club' point of view, as opposed to him personally is he hinting at staying after all? Although in all fairness has he, or anyone else ever actually said that he would be leaving, this has only ever been 'paper talk'.
All sentimentality aside I do not think that I would be alone is saying that I would be ecstatic should Mendes still be a Pompey player next season as he really is a fantastic footballer who adds something to our side that few others within the squad do - granted I do feel the 'assaults' he was subjected to by the Citeh thugs have left a permanent scare, but I feel we will look back with great regret should we let him leave this summer... Should he want to go that would be another matter of course.
One man that Tony Adams believes is going nowhere however is Sol Campbell. Despite the captain constantly saying he 'will not be leaving' the rumours will not go away but Adams said: 'I don't see him moving anywhere to be honest. And to give my opinion, I think he's happy where he is.'
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Thursday May 22 2008
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