Premier League

Former West Ham man speaks out about regretful Hammers decision

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Cheikhou Kouyate may still be plying his trade in London, but the Crystal Palace midfielder has revealed a stunning revelation about his time with the Hammers.

The Senegalese defensive midfielder arrived in East London from Anderlecht for £6.75m in the summer of 2014 and went on to appear 147 times for the Irons.

However, the 30-year-old has revealed how it all could have been so different had he pursued a move from one of West Ham’s rivals during his spell at the London Stadium.

What did he say?

Speaking to DH, Kouyate said: “Tottenham wanted to sign me. I was being pushed to go there but I hesitated. Slaven Bilic was my manager and wanted to keep me at West Ham, who were offering me a great contract.”

“We’d come out of a good season after often being in the relegation zone. I preferred to stay. I changed clubs a bit later, maybe too late. I could tell that to a young player; a big club doesn’t always come twice,” Kouyate added.

Living in the past

Before joining Crystal Palace, after four years in East London, Kouyate scored 15 times for the Hammers and was a consistent presence in the Slaven Bilic side, which qualified for the Europa League qualifying rounds. He made 34 appearances as West Ham finished seventh in the Premier League, consistently screening the defence and quelling attacks.

According to the player he attracted interest from rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but he thought twice about the move and decided to stay. However, he expressed some mild regret that he may have let his one and only chance to head to a side from the Premier League’s ‘big six’ slip through his grasp.

Nevertheless, the 57 cap Senegal international accumulated West Ham a tidy £2.88m profit when he did move across London to the Eagles. Hammers fans will likely have been pleased to know that the defensive midfielder turned down Spurs’ swoop, but his regrets at not departing will likely evoke mixed emotions.

Regardless, his influence at the base of the midfield has been replaced by the emergence of homegrown hero Declan Rice and the shrewd January arrival of Tomas Soucek, meaning he is not sorely missed.

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