- Premier League
Diame nearly joined Liverpool in summer
Had things gone a little differently in the summer Mohamed Diame could have been lining up for Liverpool against West Ham United this Sunday, Sam Allardyce has confirmed.
Allardyce, the Upton Park manager, revealed that the forceful midfielder was on the verge of signing for the Anfield club at the end of last season, only for the deal to be scuppered by the sacking of Kenny Dalglish.
The news is all the more ironic given that Liverpool are now understood to be one of a number of clubs - including Arsenal, Newcastle United and Everton - who have shown interest in Diame following his dynamic form so far this season. In fact, Newcastle are said to be favourites to trigger a release clause in the midfielder's contract in January.
"It just made me feel so much better when I signed him that, when you speak to Kenny [Dalglish] and he says, 'Yeah, we were going to take him', it gives you that little bit more [comfort]," Allardyce said.
"These days signing players is a huge task in terms of what you have go through and then, when you've done it, you've got somebody of Kenny's experience backing up what your judgement is."
Dalglish's sacking wasn't the only way West Ham benefitted in the eventual capture of Diame. With the player having fallen out of favour at Wigan due to a refusal to sign a new contract, the Upton Park club were able to match his demands.
"What had happened was, it's one of those things where he didn't play as often because of, probably in the beginning it was his refusal to sign a new contract and wanting to see it out and then, probably at the latter end, [Wigan] had a magnificent last eight games so that was in the end to our benefit.
"It was never about the convincing [Diame to join West Ham], it was all about the contract. It took a little bit of time but in the end we finally got there on a financial basis that was suitable for both club and player."
The player, however, also ensured the insertion of a clause which may be to West Ham's cost. As chairman David Gold tweeted on Friday, "Diame does have a release clause in his three-year contract".
Allardyce appears to accept that the player could be on his way come the transfer window.
"There's always a chance that you'll lose football players when they start getting attention on the basis of what their performances bring because everybody's searching for better players," he said.
"I'm listening to Mr [Michael] Laudrup saying he desperately doesn't want Michu to go [from Swansea] because January's almost here and the rumours are starting again. All the agents are ringing you up that such a club wants that player ... all that distraction starts now and doesn't finish until January 31st. That's why everybody should have a break in January.
"It's always the situation where you're powerless to keep a player because the price of the fee is so high you can't turn it down and the chairman says you can't turn that down so you've got to move him on."