Lassana Diarra's future at Arsenal has been further thrown into doubt after the French midfielder was left out of the squad for the Carling Cup semi-final with Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.The 22-year-old only arrived from Chelsea during August, but has voiced his concern at a perceived lack of first-team opportunities. Manager Arsene Wenger had made it clear he wanted Diarra to stay and fight for his place, but the French coach could now be willing to allow the unsettled player to leave - providing the right deal can be reached. Diarra - who had started all three of Arsenal's previous Carling Cup ties this season - was conspicuous by his absence from the Gunners' 16-man squad, which was revealed on the club's official website this afternoon. Newcastle, Everton, Tottenham, Blackburn and Portsmouth are all reported to be ready to move for the midfielder, should he become available while French champions Lyon have also confirmed their interest. Abou Diaby, also said to be seeking more regular football, Brazilian youngster Denilson and the experienced Gilberto are all included in what is again a young squad. Holland striker Robin van Persie could feature after having now recovered from a muscular problem which has sidelined him since the Barclays Premier League win over Chelsea on December 16. Meanwhile, Gillingham manager Mark Stimson has confirmed Arsenal are the 'front-runners' to sign starlet Luke Freeman. The 15-year-old has had a spell training with the Gunners and also Barclays Premier League rivals Newcastle and West Ham. 'As we speak, Arsenal are the front-runners for Luke Freeman and they are talking to the chairman,'' Stimson told the club's official website. 'We are trying to negotiate a deal, but that could take a day, a week or a month. 'We realise now that we are going to lose him. It is sad that is going to happen because he is a special talent. We have got to get the best deal for the club and when that is done, we'll let everyone know.'' Stimson added: 'It wouldn't be right to stand in the boy's way if the deal is right for Gillingham. The good thing about it is he realises that and so do his parents. 'They know he will only go to a Premier League club if the deal is right for our club and that is what we are trying to negotiate.' Arsenal youngster Fran Merida, 17, looks set for a loan move to Spanish side Real Sociedad, coached by former Fulham boss Chris Coleman.