Doncaster sign El Hadji Diouf on three-month deal

 

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The Independent Online

Doncaster have completed the signing of former Bolton and Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf on a three-month contract.

The 30-year-old Senegal international has been without a club since he was released by Blackburn at the end of last season.

A two-time African Footballer of the Year, Diouf was a £10million arrival at Anfield in 2002 after playing a starring role in Senegal's successful World Cup campaign that summer.

Often a controversial figure during his time in British football, Diouf has also played for Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League and helped Rangers to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title during a loan spell north of the border last term.

Diouf's arrival at the Keepmoat Stadium will go some way to addressing the striker problems currently testing boss Dean Saunders.

Goalscorer James Hayter was the only established centre-forward in the squad for the 1-1 draw with Coventry on Saturday as Billy Clark missed out due to family issues.

Fellow striker Chris Brown has only recently resumed light training following a knee injury and Jon Parkin returned to Cardiff at the end of his loan period in Yorkshire.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Diouf's representative Willie McKay had signed a two-year deal to act as transfer consultant for the club, with the added brief of trimming the Keepmoat Stadium wage bill.

Pascal Chimbonda and Herita Ilunga have arrived on short-term deals since Saunders' appointment as manager in September, and Diouf's signing appears to be the latest fruit from McKay's labours.

McKay told the Doncaster Free Press last week: "These guys approached me. They have a wage bill of £8million a year and want it reduced to £4million.

"My valuation of Donny was nothing. They have no fanbase and everyone in Doncaster supports Leeds, Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday, who can all get 30,000 in their stadiums.

"Donny have players on £7,000 a week and a core support of 10,000 people - nobody can sustain that.

"In every squad there are two or three good players who aren't getting a game for whatever reason.

"We will take them to Doncaster, put them in the shop window and sell them on with sell-on fees."

Diouf has never been far from controversy during his time in British football.

He was fined two weeks' wages by Liverpool, £5,000 by the Glasgow Sheriff Court and banned for two matches after spitting at Celtic fans during a UEFA Cup tie.

Despite scoring 24 goals in more than 100 appearances from Bolton, unsavoury headlines were never far from view.

In November 2004 he was fined for spitting at Middlesbrough fans and later that month Portsmouth captain Arjan de Zeeuw also found Diouf's phlegm heading in his direction. December 2005 brought a 12-month driving ban for drink driving.

He moved to Sunderland in summer 2008 but left Wearside six months later without a single goal to his name amid rumours of a dressing room bust up with team-mate Anton Ferdinand.

A reunion with former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce followed at Blackburn and Diouf rediscovered some of his old form, although he was frozen out of the first-team picture shortly after Steve Kean took over as manager last season.

That led to his loan switch to Rangers, where the Scottish League Cup and Premier League title were collected.

But perhaps Diouf's most notable contribution for Rangers was his sending off for dissent after full-time in the Scottish Cup defeat to Celtic which sparked a melee and the now infamous clash between Hoops boss Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant Ally McCoist.

A trial under Allardyce at West Ham this summer was unsuccessful, with even his one-time mentor admitting in his Evening Standard column that Diouf's reputation was a factor in him not being offered a contract.

PA

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