Sam Allardyce ready to play Arsenal 'target' Mohamed Diame at Fulham tonight
Midfielder has been linked with move away
Wednesday 30 January 2013
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has no qualms about playing Mohamed Diame at Fulham tonight - even if it could be the Senegal midfielder's last game for the club.
The 25-year-old joined West Ham last summer from Wigan but has been at the centre of transfer speculation all through the January transfer window.
Despite a strongly-worded statement from Diame last week insisting he was fully committed to the club's cause, his future continues to draw attention, with Arsenal reported to be ready to trigger a £3.5million release clause.
Allardyce spoke of "total confusion", but despite his eagerness to keep Diame he will have no worries about allowing any scouts at Craven Cottage a good look at what the combative midfielder is about.
"My plan is that I am playing him because I hope and I believe he is going to be here after Thursday," said Allardyce.
"Diame is a professional, he is paid to play for West Ham United. I expect everyone to put the shirt on and play with a passion, with the ability and desire that they have got."
Despite West Ham's clear determination to retain Diame, Allardyce accepts the nature of the volatile January transfer market means the situation is out of his hands.
"It will be money talking, won't it? And when money talks there's no stopping it, especially in this window," he said.
"This is the worst month for everybody because of the volatility of the market, the suggestions on a daily basis what is happening to your players, or about players coming to your club, which upsets the player in that position when they read about it even though no-one is coming in.
"The whole footballing world is disrupted."
West Ham have finally strengthened their backline with the loan signing of former Middlesbrough defender Emanuel Pogatetz from Wolfsburg this week.
However, plans to also bring in left-back Stephen Warnock from Aston Villa were derailed, as the 31-year-old looks set to join Leeds instead.
West Ham could yet look to push through a move for Blackburn's Sweden international defender Martin Olsson, whom Allardyce worked with while in charge at Ewood Park.
The npower Championship knocked back an initial offer, believed to be around £2million, which is half their valuation.
On-loan striker Andy Carroll has been out with a knee injury since November, but there is a chance he could be included in the squad at Fulham.
West Ham have recorded just one Premier League win in their last eight attempts, and were beaten 5-1 at Arsenal in their previous fixture.
Allardyce has called for a response at Craven Cottage.
"The players' responsibility is to get more points on the board, starting Wednesday, to produce a result from the game and see if we can move on from there," he said.
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