10 facts about West Ham new boy Alou Diarra
West Ham have secured a French international, but what can we tell you about his interesting career so far?
Here are 10 facts about the holding midfield player.
1. After an early struggle to find a professional club Alou Diarra eventually was signed up with an amateur contract by lowly Louhans-Cuiseaux where he progressed into the first team at a young age.
2. His impressive rise saw increased interest in his signature and after an early struggle to find top class teams to play for he signed a contract with German giants Bayern Munich playing in their reserve side with future stars such as Owen Hargreaves, Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Zvjezdan Misimovic.
3. Despite tapping on the first team door he never made a first team appearance for the club and was signed by Gerard Houllier for Liverpool in 2002. He was likened to Patrick Vieira by the coach but was immediately loaned to Le Havre to gain first team experience.
4. This was the first of three consecutive loan spells back to France, followed by deals with Bastia and finally RC Lens. After impressing in all 3 loan deals he requested a transfer from Anfield signing a deal with Lens after making no appearances for Liverpool.
5. After an impressive season at RC Lens, Houllier re-signed the Frenchman for the dominant Lyon but he failed to keep Jeremy Toulalan out of the first team and left after one season after a public bust-up with Houllier over playing time.
6. Diarra rejected a move to Portsmouth in 2007 instead agreeing a deal with Bordeaux under new manager Laurent Blanc, and his career finally began to take off.
7. After a solid first season, his second season saw Bordeaux win the Coupe de Ligue and Ligue 1 championships, finally breaking Lyons recent dominance in France.
8. In 2010 Diarra was suspended for 6 games after pushing a referee during a Ligue 1 game with Auxerre.
9. After a move broke down the previous summer, Diarra agreed a protracted transfer to Marseille last July; but failed to capture form and was widely anticipated to leave the club this summer and Upton Park is his destination.
10. Internationally, Diarra played for French Under-20 and Under-21 sides during his stints at Bayern Munich and Liverpool before moving on to the senior side in 2004. He has since gone on to play 44 games for his country even captaining Les Bleus on several occasions since 2010 under the stewardship of former Bordeaux boss Laurent Blanc. Despite not scoring a goal for the national side he came very close against England, with a powerful header, in the opening game of the Euro’s. .
The combative and powerful holding midfield player could be a brilliant signing by The Hammers; a recognised international with obvious star qualities he should blend in to the Premier League quickly and become an essential cog in West Ham’s survival fight this season.