Saturday, 26 January 2013

More confused than ever: Diame late for team meeting, wants to leave and Arsenal poised to swoop?

The 'what-the-bejeepers-is-actually-going-on?!' Mohammed Diame transfer snake's honeymoon has taken another alarming turn, according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper's football news correspondent, Neil Ashton, wrote online last night that "Sam Allardyce stunned West Ham's players by ordering them to attend a 7am team meeting, hours after their 5-1 defeat at Arsenal." This sounds like a fairly typical Big Sam reaction to a thrashing, but the big news here is that midfield star Diame was an hour late to the meeting at the Hammers' Chadwell Heath training ground.

The Mail appear to have read two things into this.

 Firstly, that Diame "wants to join Arsenal," just two days after publishing a story with the headline "I'm happy at West Ham! Diame wants to stay despite £3.5m exit clause saga"; and secondly, that Arsenal are "about to activate the release clause" in the Senegal international's contract. As stated yesterday in my piece on the Mail's coverage of the story so far, I am perfectly aware that this is silly season and that transfer situations are subject to constant fluctuation, but it is difficult to see what the basis is for this second U-turn by the newspaper on the subject. There is a contradiction in terms in the article itself; Ashton claims that the club are "treating the Diame case sensitively" because of the reported interest from Arsenal.. yet says that he has heard from West Ham that Diame's lateness "would fall under the appropriate disciplinary measures." So, the club are treating the Diame situation sensitively, but not actually doing anything different to how they normally would handle a case of a player being late to a team meeting. Well, that clears everything up.

As the situation stands according to the Mail, we are "struggling to hold on" to Diame, but the article makes no reference as to why; no mention of any possible sources ("The Mail understands from sources close to Mohammed Diame..", for example) and neither does it make any reference to why its writer is so sure that Arsenal are "about to activate Diame's release clause." Hmm. I just don't know any more, and it seems a pathetically obvious thing to say, but the only thing I really can see is that time will tell. The next five days are certainly going to be interesting times for West Ham United.

By Alex Shilling

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