In a summer transfer window that saw £490m spent by Premier League clubs, including the big money deals for Eden Hazard and Robin van Perise for £32m and £24m respectively, one man has stood out as the free transfer of the season.
Mohamed Diame was a graduate of the renowned Clairefontaine academy, from where he joined RC Lens before moving to Rayo Vallecano following health problems.
After a season with the Spanish side there was interest form both Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the latter close to a deal only to pull out when they uncovered the serious nature of his heart condition.
Wigan moved in for the Senegalese international and took the necessary precautions, keeping a defibrillator on hand at all times as he made nearly 100 appearances for the Lancashire club.
With his contract due to expire in July 2012, Diame began to attract the attention of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United amongst others, with his eye-catching performances in the middle of the park.
The bigger clubs were put off by concerns over his heart condition but Diame had already decided it was time for him to move on, later admitting his frustration at "spending the last day of the season trying to stay up every year".
He joined West Ham United believing them to have stronger ambition, stronger players and a better chance of making their mark on the Premier League than his previous employers.
Since moving to the capital, Diame has become a central figure of Sam Allardyce’s side in an impressive return to the Premier League that sees the Hammers sitting comfortably in mid-table, although a recent run of bad form means one or two are nervously looking over their shoulders.
When the January transfer window rolled around, the big clubs were reportedly on the scene again with Arsenal apparently leading the chase for Diame, who was reported to have a £3.5m buyout clause in his contract, though no formal approach was ever made.
Allardyce went on record to say that: "The most important thing at the end of yesterday (transfer deadline day) was probably keeping hold of Mo Diame" and the Hammers are set to open contract negotiations with the former Wigan man with a view to removing, or at least significantly increasing the buyout clause.
However, regardless of whether or not Diame signs a new contract or West Ham manage stay in the division, Allardyce and co. will know that interest in their midfield man will be high come the summer window and they'll have another fight on their hands to keep the man who is undoubtedly the best Bosman signing of the season.
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