With the 2015/16 season already fast approaching for West Ham and the Upton Park faithful, the Hammers certainly have a lot to think about as the new campaign starts to get underway.
In welcoming new boss, Slaven Bilic, to the fold in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s recent departure, having to prepare for a potentially long and testing Europa League run next season – and of course not forgetting the move to the Olympic Stadium patiently waiting on the club’s horizon – West Ham fans certainly won’t be short of excitement and activity once the new season finally begins.
If we were to take a step back to last summer however, a period in which several new faces joined up with Big Sam’s squad from a whole variety of different backgrounds and experiences, we may remember a certain Mohamed Diame, and how the 27-year-old Senegalese international departed Upton Park in somewhat questionable circumstances.
Although he had previously claimed that “joining a club from the top six would be a dream come true”, Mo eventually decided to join up with Steve Bruce’s Hull City outfit last season, in a move that clearly backfired when the Tigers’ subsequent relegation back to the Championship is fully taken into account.
So then – without wanting to hark back to a previous time when the future is finally starting to look a little brighter for West Ham – where do the Upton Park faithful currently stand on Mo Diame?
Did the Hammers hierarchy make a mistake in letting the former Wigan man go so easily last summer, or was his somewhat inevitable departure ultimately a positive move for the club?
Well, even though it seems quite a while back now, when the Senegalese midfield enforcer first made his debut at Upton Park on the opening day of the season against Aston Villa back in 2012, it really looked like West Ham had signed a true gem in Diame.
It seemed like the Premier League was absolutely made for someone of his skill-set. When it came to winning the ball effectively in the middle of the park, bustling through the opposition’s defence in powerful style, and every now and then finishing off a really well worked goal as a result of his talents – the current Hull City man seemingly had more cards up his sleeve than initial appearances made out.
Goals against Arsenal and Manchester United in the 2012/13 season certainly gave the Upton Park faithful some moments to remember that year, even if the three points didn’t always follow suit.
Having made such a strong case for Diame though, consistency wasn’t exactly the midfielder’s strong point. At the beginning of each season, and against the Premier League’s elite top four clubs, the Senegalese international invariably put in several good performances largely without fail – yet when away trips to the likes of Crystal Palace, Stoke City and Fulham cropped up – West Ham’s former no. 21 often failed to register an influence.
Perhaps he only really gave his all when superior teams came to Upton Park, as such displays could have potentially caught the eye of any on-lookers or scouts heavily linked with the top four sides. His displays for Hull City last season also seemed to follow a similar path.
Whilst injuries have certainly hampered the midfielder’s progress across 2014/15, Diame nevertheless made a blistering start to the campaign – which rather obviously included a debut goal against West Ham back in September – but once again trailed off as the rest of the season eventually played out.
Even with that in mind however, if Big Sam had opted to use the combative box-to-box man in his usual position in the heart of his team’s midfield, then perhaps Mo Diame would still be a West Ham player. Allardyce’s decision to play him out wide for the majority of the 2013/14 season was shocking to say the least.
The player himself must arguably take the majority of the blame though, for if the former no. 21 put a shift in for his team on a more regular basis, he could well have made the switch to a higher ranking side than West Ham, instead of drifting off with the relegation bound Hull City.
With the ever reliable Mark Noble, the somewhat upgraded Cheikhou Kouyate, the newly acquired Pedro Obiang and potentially even Alex Song in the fold again next season, West Ham ultimately no longer require the services of someone like Mo Diame.
Things could have worked out differently for sure – but for now at least – it seems the decision to part ways with the midfielder last summer seemingly proved to be the correct one.