West Ham secure Diawara to bolster attack

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager, has secured the services of the French striker, Kaba Diawara, who has finished a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers.

Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager, has secured the services of the French striker, Kaba Diawara, who has finished a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers.

Diawara is going to Upton Park to add competition to West Ham's attack which has struggled in front of goal this season. The former Arsenal striker has played a couple of games for Blackburn but he does not fit in with Graeme Souness's side and their style of play. Therefore, Souness has agreed to cancel the loan deal and let Diawara try to impress at West Ham.

Blackburn had originally promised to make a decision on Diawara in December, but they have brought their decision forward. West Ham will now take Diawara on loan from the French side Paris St-Germain, where he lost his place following the arrival of another former Arsenal striker, Nicolas Anelka. Diawara could benefit from playing alongside Paolo Di Canio and Joe Cole with the prospect of having more chances created for him.

Paris St-Germain want around £3m for Diawara but West Ham will gladly pay that if he repeats the success of Frédéric Kanouté when he arrived in similar circumstances last season.

Meanwhile, Rovers' new signing, Lucien Mettomo, has been branded a "coward" in a savage attack by his old St-Etienne coach. The Cameroonian joined Souness's ranks for £6m after walking out on the French side when they went back on a promise to sell him.

Mettomo's refusal to play for the club has angered his former coach, Robert Nouzaret, who launched an astonishing farewell attack. "Mettomo has no respect for his friends, I wish the club had not given in to him. He should come back and play in the reserves. He should have endured the life of a coward. He did not have the guts to come and talk with us," he said.

Mettomo walked out last week when a move to Blackburn was stalled despite promises from his general manager, Gerard Soler, that he could leave. But Nouzaret ignored that fact and added: "Players no longer respect contracts. They earn £30,000 a month and if the coach kicks their backside they call you a dictator. Fortunately there are some who are sane. I hope he will have an incredible backlash from this. The swine in life will always pay one day." Mettomo has signed a contract with Blackburn that trebles his salary- he will go straight into Souness's side at the weekend.

Leicester City have been allocated 4,000 tickets for their re-scheduled Uefa Cup match against Red Star Belgrade in Vienna on 28 September. While the club do not expect to sell them all, they are just grateful to have some backing in Austria.

Red Star had suggested the Macedonian capital of Skopje as their first alternative after Uefa rejected their appeal for the second leg match to be played in Yugoslavia. Staging a game there would have been a logistical nightmare for the Leicester supporters.

Leicester City's chief operating officer, Steve Kind, said: "We are delighted the decision has been taken and we can get on with the job of making arrangements for the match. We are all looking forward to going to Vienna as it means our supporters have a chance of attending the fixture." The match will be played at the 19,300 capacity Gerhard-Hanappi Stadium, the home of Rapid Vienna.

Mike Lee, Uefa's director of communications, said: "We have rejected Red Star's appeal against our decision to insist upon a neutral venue. The match will be played in Vienna. Both clubs have been informed and the necessary steps are now being taken to ensure the game goes ahead."

The game was originally planned for Belgrade on 28 September four days after the general election, but it was then switched to 21 September by Uefa. However, European football's governing body then insisted on a neutral venue as Red Star could not guarantee Leicester's safety.

Leicester play Everton on Sunday in the Premiership before preparing for the fixture. Last week's first leg at Filbert Street finished 1-1 after the defender Gerry Taggart equalised for the home side. Peter Taylor, Leicester's manager, said: "I am pleased the venue for the game has now been settled. Once Sunday's game is out of the way things will be clear and we can plan for the second leg."

Bolton Wanderers have taken the 21-year-old Dutch striker, Elbekay Bouchiba, on trial from AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands. Tony Bedeau, the Torquay United striker, is spending the week on trial at Sunderland.

Comments