West Ham have secured the services of Diafra Sakho from Metz for a £3.5million fee and just in time for him to be eligible for their opening Premier League game on Saturday, according to the Guardian.
Following a huge blow to the Hammers during their preseason tour which saw Andy Carroll suffer yet another injury setback, they have endeavoured to bring in a striker as backup to the big man – who will be out of action until November.
After weeks of speculation and failing to lure targets, the club can finally rejoice at having completed a deal to bring in Ligue 2’s player of the year for last season.
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The 24-year-old Senegalese striker has signed a four year deal with the club and could feature in their opening match against Tottenham Hotspur, providing he is granted international clearance in time.
The deal for the prolific forward, who has scored 43 goals in his last two seasons in France’s second and third tiers, looked to have fallen through after West Ham and Metz’s relationship appeared to break down.
The French outfit threatened to report the Hammers to Uefa for trying to change the terms of the transfer to an initial loan deal, but fortunately for Sam Allardyce the matter was resolved.
Over the last few weeks West Ham have been linked with almost every available striker in Europe, but two Englishmen in particular seemed the most likely to move to Upton Park.
First it was reported that former Liverpool and Tottenham man Peter Crouch could leave Stoke for east London, however manager Mark Hughes was reluctant to sell.
The Irons then turned their attention to Sunderland’s young starlet Connor Wickham and had a £5million bid rejected by the Black Cats.
Big Sam indicated that after his failings he would be seeking alternatives in Europe as it was proving too expensive to tie up a deal with other Premier League competitors.
“This is a proud day to have signed for West Ham. I really love English football and I’ve dreamed of coming to play for one of the big English clubs,” Sakho told West Ham’s official site.
“Today, West Ham have given me that opportunity and I didn’t hesitate to grab it. I’m looking forward to playing. It’s more than a month now that I’ve been training for this and right now I think I’d be ready to pull on the club colours.
“I’ve come here to continue as I was at Metz. I’m going to give it my all, going flat out on the pitch and I think the fans will appreciate that.”
Sakho may not be a renowned striker but he is a strong, powerful and agile centre forward that will no doubt be suited to the style of English football and be able to adapt quickly, which the Hammers will be relying on.
He fired Metz to the Ligue 2 title last season, scoring 20 goals and earning individual accolades that have seen him rise in stature.
Sakho will link up with his Senegalese team-mates Cheikhou Kouyaté and Mohamed Diamé at West Ham which should also help him to settle in to the side quickly.
The Irons have already brought in Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate to bolster their attacking options, but the former is not ready for first team action following his World Cup exploits with Ecuador so the onus is on Sakho to fill the void.