They wouldn't....would they?
Rumours abound today that Mahamadou Diarra is headed for England next season with Chelsea and United the forerunners in the chase for his signature.
On the surface, he seems like exactly what United need right now but we obviously don't have a chance if Chelsea are in for him. Considering they already have Essien, Lampard, Maniche and Makelele, and are favourites to end up with Obi-Mikel when all the singing and dancing has finished, will Chelsea make it even more depressing for us all by signing Diarra?
I think they will. They can land another massive blow to United by beating us to another top centre-midfielder, thereby overloading on the very position where we are weakest, while at the same time bringing in what many consider to be the natural, long-term replacement for Makelele. One week they can play with Makelele, Obi-Mikel and Lampard and the next they can go with Diarra, Essien and Maniche.
I don't see how we can get him if Chelsea want him. Even if he would prefer guaranteed first team football at United, Lyon will demand the highest price and United cannot match Chelsea there. Just for fun Chelsea can go in with a 25million bid and see what happens. If United don't match them they can haggle a little with Lyon like they did over Essien. If United do match them, they can just go to 26. Worst case scenario for Chelsea is they drive United to spend their entire transer budget for about 3 seasons on a single player - a player who Chelsea don't really even need.