Sam Allardyce admits he is hopeful of adding Lassana Diarra, as West Ham United push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The 29-year-old midfielder has been without a club since leaving Lokomotiv Moscow in August, and he has been training with the Hammers in recent days. Due to him being a free agent he is eligible to sign for a new club outside of the transfer window, and as he strives to regain his match fitness, it looks as though the former France international will return to the capital.
“He is training with us,” Allardyce said ahead of the clash with Southampton on Wednesday. “I’m not so sure whether we have finalised a deal yet but he is doing a little bit of training with us. The deal is very close to being finalised and on the basis of where we are with our squad and the injuries, once we have him fit he will be a very good addition based on his previous record as a footballer.”
Having developed through the youth system at Le Havre Diarra arrived in England with Chelsea in 2005, and he showed great promise under Jose Mourinho. However, the Portuguese was prepared to offload the player to rivals Arsenal in August 2007 as his contract entered its final six months. Yet having failed to secure a regular place with the Gunners, he joined Portsmouth in January 2008 for £5.5million.
Diarra soon established himself as a key member of the Pompey side and played every minute in their FA Cup run which ended in glory against Cardiff City, and his performances persuaded Real Madrid to pay £20million for his signature in January 2009. He helped Los Blancos win La Liga in 2012, before leaving for Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012 and then Lokomotiv the following year.
Meanwhile, James Tomkins has signed a new deal which will tie him to the Hammers until the summer of 2020. The 25-year-old defender, who suffered a broken nose during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday, is a product of the famed Upton Park youth system, and having established himself as a key member of Allardyce’s first team squad, he is delighted to commit his future to the club.
“I think it’s brilliant that the club has shown faith in me and offered me this deal and I’m delighted to sign it,” he told the club’s website. “I’ve been here since I was seven and this is a long-term deal which is going to take me up until I’m in my 30s, so it’s nice to commit my future here. I feel like my performances have come along a lot this year and I am just enjoying playing really.”