Saunders delights as Doncaster sign 'brilliant' Diouf


The Doncaster manager, Dean Saunders, believes he has pulled off a transfer coup by persuading El Hadji Diouf to move to the Keepmoat Stadium. The 30-year-old former Liverpool and Bolton forward has agreed an initial three-month contract with Doncaster. Diouf had trials with West Ham and Wigan following his release from Blackburn in August, and Saunders claims the Hammers offered Diouf a contract.

"He's been training at West Ham and Wigan so I've monitored that hoping they weren't going to sign him," Saunders said. "West Ham offered him a deal and we've managed to persuade him to come and play for us. He's a brilliant signing. He's won African Player of the Year twice which is no mean feat.

"He played for Rangers last season and hopefully he can come here and help us and take on board what I'm trying to do for the club. Hopefully he likes it and he stays. We cannot afford to pay ridiculous wages so we've signed him at a reasonable wage for this short period."

Saunders' words are at odds with those of West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce, who said last week Diouf had not been offered a deal. Allardyce questioned the player's fitness and alluded to Diouf's standing as a controversial figure as a reason for opting out of a deal.

A history of spitting incidents and dressing room bust-ups is sure to follow the Senegal international but Diouf said he was ready to help Doncaster escape the clutches of the Championship relegation zone. "I love a challenge," he said.

"I could have gone to the Middle East or somewhere but I wanted to come back to a big level like the Championship."