Bundesliga side Hannover’s chairman Martin Kind has admitted that he expects striker Mame Biram Diouf – formerly of Manchester United – to leave the club this summer, prompting fresh interest from previously-linked suitors Cardiff and Stoke.
The 26-year-old is a man in demand after scoring 35 goals in 71 appearances in all competitions for Tayfun Korkut’s side since leaving Old Trafford for good just over two years ago.
As it stands, a summer move to the Welsh capital could see Diouf plying his trade in the Championship next term, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side three points from safety having played more games than the three teams directly above them and 3/10 for relegation.
With that in mind, signing up with Stoke – who are also managed by a former Man Utd forward in the shape of Mark Hughes – may be higher up the Senegalese’s agenda as the Potteries club are 5/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League, having lost just one of their last seven matches.
It’s fair to say that Diouf never hit the heights expected of him in the north west, although opportunities at Old Trafford didn’t really come his way.
However, having notched just seven times in 38 appearances for United and whilst on loan at Blackburn, the ex-Molde man has clearly rediscovered the form that persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him up back in July 2009.
Despite Cardiff’s perilous position in relation to Hughes’ Potters, the Bluebirds may have the upper hand when it comes to landing the 26-year-old, who will be available on a free transfer this summer unless Hannover can cajole him into signing a contract in the meantime.
The Indomitable Lions regular worked with Solskjaer when the Red Devils legend coached the reserves at Old Trafford and the current Cardiff chief was quoted with regard to Diouf back in 2010, stating:
‘He has fantastic potential. He is a fantastic athlete and he has a fantastic attitude plus he is a good finisher as you saw here tonight.’
However, both Solskjaer and Hughes’ scouts will have to rely on dossiers they’ve previously compiled on the 6ft 1in striker, as Diouf is expected to miss the rest of the 2013/14 Bundesliga campaign after shoulder surgery.