West Ham striker Diafra Sakho has revealed that his impressive start to his Premier League career has been helped by advice from Chelsea icon Didier Drogba, a player who is idolised by the new Boleyn Ground star.
Sakho has scored four goals in four starts for West Ham since his summer transfer from Metz, only failing to find the net in a debut cameo against Crystal Palace, and the 24-year-old has been a key component in the attacking transformation of Sam Allardyce’s side.
The Senegal international was instrumental in the defeat of Liverpool 10 days ago, scoring with a supposedly deliberate chip over Simon Mignolet, while he followed this up with a goal at Old Trafford during the weekend loss to Manchester United.
It has been an unexpectedly prolific start for a relatively low key summer acquisition, with Sakho having spent the previous two seasons in France’s lower divisions, and Sam Allardyce will have been delighted with the forward’s contribution so far.
Allardyce may, perhaps, owe a debt of gratitude to Drogba for the way in which Sakho has been able to flourish in east London, with the recently returned Chelsea star having been in frequent contact to offer guidance.
“[Drogba] has helped me a lot to grow as a player and a person,” Sakho told the Evening Standard.
“He is the reason why I have taken the No15 shirt at West Ham [the number Drogba first had at Chelsea]. It’s to keep that sense of belonging.
“I was lucky in that my agent, who had known Didier Drogba for some time, spoke to him on my behalf.
“He asked Didier for his advice on a new player coming here to England. More importantly, since Didier heard about me, he has spoken to my agent a lot, giving advice about how to behave, how to handle myself in the Premier League. That has helped a lot.”
Sakho’s £3.5 million arrival at Upton Park could prove to be one of the bargains of the season, and his form will be particularly pleasing for West Ham given that their other goalscorers have yet to hit their straps.
Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate, two notable summer signings, would have been expected to offer a greater threat than Sakho, who had initially been overlooked in favour of Carlton Cole at the start of the season.
Valencia, Zarate and Cole have all scored one each - a total equal to Sakho’s haul in the Premier League - and with Andy Carroll still to return from injury West Ham will be optimistic about what this season can bring.