Mohamed Diame has been one of the star performers for West Ham this season, but should that be reason enough for the club to be held to ransom during contract negotiations with the midfielder?
Ever since the news of Diame’s £3.5m release clause emerged, some of the Premier League’s bigger sides – and QPR – have been on high-alert, keen as they are to snap up a player of proven Premier League quality for a relative pittance.
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So, as Arsenal, Newcastle United and Everton are supposedly clambering for Diame’s services, the Hammers are doing what they can to retain them.
Reports this week suggest that negotiations between West Ham and the Senegalese international have now hit a snag, giving his suitors all the more reason to be excited about luring Diame away from Upton Park.
While there is no doubt that West Ham should try to hang onto Diame, who has been in inspirational form since he moved to east London on a free transfer from Wigan Athletic in June, the club cannot simply throw caution to the wind and give the player whatever he wants just so he stays. To do so would be lunacy. Not only is the Hammers’ financial state still precarious, but bowing to one player’s demands so easily sets a dangerous precedent that the rest of the squad, and future arrivals, will not hesitate to follow.
Many West Ham supporters have reacted angrily to the news that the negotiations between the club and Diame have collapsed.
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They are, however, divided in what they are angry about. Some supporters are disappointed that Diame has shown himself to be nothing other than a mercenary with no loyalty, simply prepared to do a job for the highest bidder.
Other members of the West Ham faithful are irked because they believe the suits at Upton Park are not doing enough to cling onto the midfielder, especially given that only he and Winston Reid have really played to the best of their ability for the Hammers this season.
Those supporters in favour of giving Diame all his heart desires just to keep him wearing the claret and blue should be reminded, though, of the fact that the man himself admitted West Ham were his second choice club (at least) when his contract ran out in the summer. He was all set to sign for Liverpool until none other than the lord almighty intervened, or so he believed.
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“I met before Kenny Dalglish and we talked about next season, but God decided to finish this situation,” Diame told Sky Sports News at the end of May.
“It is true I was very sad in my head as I was thinking to go there, but that is okay as I think I have got other opportunities to go to another club.”
Diame went on to say how he basically had his pick of a bunch of clubs falling over each other just to sign him.
“I am free and not everybody is free in this moment like a midfield player like me and that is why I have got a lot of clubs interested in me,” he said. “I have to be composed and make a good decision for my future.”
“I have got some offers from Spain, from France, from Turkey, but I really want to stay in the Premier League.”
And that’s how Mo became a Hammer; almost by default. Only ‘almost’ because another thing that Hammers fans need to remember when considering just how far the club should go to keep hold of Diame is that they have already gone to great lengths to get him.
West Ham are supposedly paying Diame £45,000 per week at the moment – huge wages for a debt-ridden club. What is more, the suits so many fans are unhappy with have supposedly offered the player an extra £5,000 per week on top of his current wage to increase his buyout clause and extend his stay at Upton Park, but he still is not happy.
The Hammers should be careful about going any further for a man who is evidently looking after number one.
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