Newcastle United 'hijack Celtic's Lassana Diarra deal'

Newcastle United are poised to beat Celtic to the signature of former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra on a free transfer, according to reports.

Newcastle United are reportedly looking to steal a march on Celtic by sealing a deal for Lassana Diarra on a free transfer.

The People claims that the ex-Portsmouth midfielder flew to Scotland for talks with the Hoops with a view to a two-year deal, but his former club, Lokomotiv Moscow, failed to release his registration.

However, Newcastle are understood to be keen on a last-minute agreement with Diarra and hope that the lure of Premier League football will be enough to attract the player to St James' Park.

Diarra, who has also previously played for Chelsea and Arsenal in England, is said to prefer a short-term contract and United are apparently poised to offer him a deal until the end of this season.

One player who could be leaving Newcastle is Cheick Tiote, with the Ivory Coast international attracting interest from Serie A side Napoli.

Anzhi Makhachkala's French midfielder Lassana Diarra walks on the pitch during the UEFA Europa League football match between Udinese Calcio and FC Anzhi Makhachkala at Udine's 'Friuli' comunal stadium on September 20, 2012
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