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Diame: Dalglish sacking ruined my dream move to Liverpool

Filed: Saturday, 24th May 2014
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United midfielder Mo Diame has revealed how he was set to sign for Liverpool before moving to West Ham two years ago.

The Senegalese international joined the Hammers in June 2012 on a free transfer from Wigan - but only after a planned move to Liverpool had fallen through following the firing of then-manager Kenny Dalglish.

"In my head I was already in Liverpool," "said Diame, speaking with French journalist Romain Molina in London last month. "It was next; I told everyone that I was there. It was as if one of my greatest wishes - to wear the Liverpool shirt - had been accomplished.

"One day my agent and I went to the training centre to see Kenny Dalglish, who was the coach. I found myself amongst photos of Gerrard and company, all these great players. I was proud of myself.

"I arrived in the office and Dalglish said 'I can't guarantee you'll play every match but we have a lot of games to play'. He talked to me about the European Cup, my benefits and the pre-season trip to America. He sold me the dream!

"So I went on holiday expecting my agent to make contact with Liverpool's management to discuss the financial arrangements. Unfortunately, Dalglish was fired and all negotiations stopped.

"I told myself that God wanted it that way and that is not a reason for me to stop work. It will happen one day."

Diame also revealed that he was offered the chance to return to France with Sochaux, whilst Spanish side Rayo Vallecano - whom he left to join Wigan - also offered him the opportunity to return.

However when Sam Allardyce offered him the chance to sign for West Ham, the 26-year-old's mind was made up. "Finally I signed for West Ham, a London club that has a history.," he said.

"I remember calling the coach [Allardyce] because he wasn't there during my first week. Senegal has asked me to represent them at the Olympics and I wanted to go - to which he said 'ok, but be careful not to hurt yourself'!

"They were a group who had just been promoted. The coach gave me confidence and it really was a great season. I scored three goals, against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United!"

The 2012/13 campaign ended with West Ham in tenth and Diame in demand, with a number of clubs keeping an eye on his situation - including one of West Ham's main London rivals.

"There were proposals last summer, " he revealed. "I was thinking of going to Arsenal but it didn't happen so I stayed at West Ham, because I felt good here. Plus, after this season we had had I thought the club would buy some better players.

"But it was a very bad start and we made ​​the mistake of not recruiting [sufficiently]. We went through the season with almost the same players [as last year], which is never good because the players think they already know who will be wearing the shirt.

"Also, people didn't necessarily give 100 per cent on the field; that's what got us in trouble. In January we didn't buy much but their presence was enough. Now if you didn't give 100 percent in training, someone else will play. It was felt on the ground and we had the results."

Diame also revealed that it took some time to come to terms with the difference between Sam Allardyce's tactical approach and that which he had been used to under Roberto Martinez at Wigan.

"Allardyce has always been the same since he was in the Premier League," he continued. "He has always had results like that so it's normal that it continues and he believes in his ideas. It's true that it doesn't please everyone, but it's his way of working and it has kept us in the Premier League again this year.

"Roberto Martinez asked me to play, to take the ball forward and to be feed our attackers. To really play football. Now, Allardyce wants me to be there for the second ball. If I can make a difference one-against-one, I go - but my primary role is to be there for the second ball that Andy Carroll will provide.

"This season I've been playing higher up the field. Last year I played in the middle with Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan but this year I've been played on the right and left wing too."

Although he maintains that he remains happy at the Boleyn Ground, Diame admits that he still has one eye on the glamour move that evaded him two years ago.

"I regret very few decisions I've made ​​in my life but I do not want to stop there," he admitted. "I am very happy with everything that happens to me and everything that has happened in my life, but I want more.

"I do not want to leave West Ham to go to a club that plays in the middle of the table. If I leave West Ham it'll be to join a top six team in England. My priority is to join a major English club and to stay here."

* Click here to read the full interview with Diame, in which he also discusses his early years as a player, international career and moving to England.

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