Pards rejects Diawara talk
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Alan Pardew has moved to quell talk that has suggested Souleymane Diawara could be on his way to Portsmouth in the January transfer window.
Pompey boss Harry Redknapp has already raided Charlton for defensive reinforcements, in the shape of Djimi Traore, and he had claimed Diawara was being lined up for a loan switch to Fratton Park.
Redknapp went on to suggest Pardew was keen on Andy O'Brien and that a player exchange had been mooted, but it would appear these reports are somewhat wide of the mark.
On the contrary, Pardew claims he has been impressed with what he has seen from Diawara thus far and that he is looking forward to working with a player only brought to the capital in the summer, by then incumbent Iain Dowie.
"My first impression is that I have liked what I have seen of Souleymane," Pardew told the club's official website.
"He is a fantastic product, but I think he needs to learn about the Premier League and he needs some guidance and I think Ben Thatcher will be a help to him.
"I've found him to be a very diligent boy in training; he's quick, strong and powerful, all the things you would want. His fitness is very good as well.
"Of course the language barrier is a problem, but we hope we can address that.
"He's been learning English since the first day he arrived, which is a good sign, and we have strong hopes for him. He has every chance of playing on Saturday."