Filed: Friday, 18th November 2016
By: Paul Walker
So, it looks like we are going to see the lesser-spotted Diafra Sakho back in action any time soon, but donít hold your breath, the club have been saying Andy Carroll is on his way back for weeks!
But seriously, folks, I feel more than a bit sorry for the big striker after the last few months, and nobody can say we havenít missed him.
Somehow heís taken the brunt of all sorts of misfortune, and I canít help but think that the way he has been treated and bad-mouthed has had a lot to do with the farcical situation we find ourselves in.
With ridiculously expensive flops, and loan disasters, following the incompetence of last summerís transfer dealings. Some folk saw us coming, didnít they?
Now I know Sakho has thrown the longest moody in modern football history, and has had more off field problems than the entire cast of Eastenders.
If you believe the rumours, thereís a partner and child in France, a girlfriend and child, allegedly, in the UK, while he has driven a Lamborghini into a wall and has been lonely in his mansion.
All in all, he has troubled the Essex constabulary far too often when the local Bill were hoping for a quiet Sunday afternoon.
But I have never seen him given anything less than 100 per cent for the team, he runs defences ragged as well as scoring a decent return in goals (anybody else doing that at the moment?) and also creates the space for Dimi Payet to weave his magic.
And it was pretty obvious too, that he has been carrying all sorts of injuries, back and thigh, and managed only 18 starts in the league last term.
Then he fell out with Slav after being left out against Arsenal last term, and itís been a struggle ever since. You donít cross our manager, as more than a few can testify.
But above all that, I really felt he got the hump big time when our owners started to rattle on about signing a big name, money striker to take Sakhoís place, and that when he was a crucial part of the West Ham team on the verge of their best season for a couple of decades.
Yes, there was a transfer demand, and a lot of bad feeling. But I still have a real soft spot for the lad. And reading his profile maybe you can see why. This lad was brought up in the Dakar slums and lost his father just before the move to Metz materialised. He was the only breadwinner and his mum had four kids to bring up.
So off to France he went and sent money home to allow his family to acquire a new house and food on the table. Sometimes I donít think folk here really understand the deprivation so many likely kids out of Africa are trying to escape from.
So heís made a few mistakes along the way, but he has never let us down on the pitch, and letís not forget that goal he struck in the final game at the Boleyn to pave the way to a memorable win over Manchester United.
But all that loose talk from our owners about 'big this' and 'big that' clearly upset Sakho when he felt he was doing a pretty good job, albeit on the footballing version of a zero hours contract! Sorry, bit harsh that, but you get my drift.
Sakho was on about £15,000 a week when David Sullivan signed him on a four-year contract, against the wishes of Sam Allardyce. That wage was increased a couple of times, but the last figure I saw was about £33,000 a week. Yes, to you and me thatís a fortune.
But he was seeing the likes of loan wasters like Emmanuel Emenike (£38,000), Nikica Jelavic (£55,000) and even Victor Moses (£70,000) arrive, while he was doing a better job--when fit--than any of them. No wonder he got the hump.
The last time I saw him was when he missed two glorious sitters at Stoke on that last day, when a win would have put us into the Europa League group stages and avoided all that embarrassing qualification nonsense (that we didnít negotiate). And even on that day, I noticed one of our owners twittering on about the chances Sakho had missed.
It didnít take long for the transfer demand and our attempts to knock him out to West Brom for £16m, before the little matter of a failed medical put the lid on that. Then we discover that he has serious back problems that have taken until now to solve.
You might not believe all that, you may think we have been fattening him up and keeping him out of trouble so he can be sold in January. Whatever.
The bottom line is that our summer signings, in particular the loan ones, have been a disaster. The summer transfers have crumbled around the Sullivan/Tony Henry axis and now we have to go cap in hand to Sakho, who has not played since May, to give us a helping hand.
Sakho wants a new contract, his current one ends in June 2018, and he no doubt believes he deserves one considering the vast amount of money that Simone Zaza is costing; in excess of £80,000 a week has been suggested.
We have also wasted nearly £10m on the loan fees for Zaza, Jonathan Calleri and Gokhan Tore. And their wages.
Now I donít know what goes on behind closed doors at our club these days, I may be a bit off the beam on some of this. But Sakho deserves better, he maybe deserved more help and guidance when his private life was falling apart last season.
Give him a chance, everyone, he may have made some daft decisions and the transfer demand didnít help. But I say again, he has never given anything but his best efforts for us. He hounds defenders, wins more than his share in the air and puts himself about.
Anyone seen Zaza win a tackle yet, thought not!
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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