Standing at just over 6ft, Diafra Sakho doesn’t look like a striker to be feared aerially, not with Peter Crouch’s and Andy Carroll’s around anyway, but he has proven in his maiden Premier League season that he is lethal with his head.
The Senegal international, who signed from French side Metz last summer, is currently top of the pile when it comes to headed goals this term – he has five, one more than Crouch, Olivier Giroud and Harry Kane.
In total the striker has scored an impressive 12 goals in 24 appearances for the Hammers during a brilliant debut campaign in which his aerial prowess and all-round tenacity has lit-up Upton Park.
PREMIER LEAGUE PEDIGREE
Many, including manager Sam Allardyce, were unsure of Sakho’s credentials before he signed for £3.5million last year, however in seven months he has convinced everyone that he belongs at this level.
The 25-year-old possesses a prodigious leap, has an abundance of strength and isn’t slow of the mark either, all attributes that could be associated with Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, whom Sakho has previously revealed to be his idol.
THE NEXT DROGBA?
There are certainly similarities between the pair, not only did they both make their name scoring goals in France, they are of African descent and are very much built in the same mould.
Drogba in his prime had a star quality about him, though, and we have only seen glimpses of this in Sakho’s performances but the potential is definitely there for him to develop into a Premier League great.
On average Sakho wins an impressive 3.4 aerial duels per match and this is solely down to his raw strength as he is often up against big, towering centre-halves that have a height advantage on him.
In comparison to the renowned aerial beasts – Carroll wins an astounding 8.6 aerial battles while Crouch wins 5.1 – Sakho is proving to be more than a handful in that department and combined with his other skills he makes for the complete striker.
PARTNERSHIP TO BE FEARED
Carroll and Sakho began to develop an understanding with one another during their brief stint leading the line for the Hammers and if the no9 can stay fit next season who knows what they will be capable of.
Their aerial ability may encourage West Ham to play more direct but if they do it variedly, like they have done throughout most of this term, it could pay dividends with them two leading the line on a weekly basis.
Do you think Diafra Sakho can become one of the best forwards in the Premier League? Will he and Andy Carroll be a good partnership next season? Have your say in the comments section below!