Boasting a trailblazing record of success when signing Senegalese, West Ham are eyeing another of the nation’s exports plying his trade in Europe.
Sion striking sensation Moussa Konate could be the fourth player hailing from this West African region the Irons have brought to the Premier League, following in the footsteps of Demba Ba, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho.
The latter’s early-season exploits threatened to propel him to top spot in the annals for shrewdest signing of all time, when he raced to eight goals in his first ten appearances following a £3.5m move from Ligue 2 side Metz.
Sam Allardyce’s talent-spotting team have ventured into another league where the standard is far removed from that of the English top flight in order to assess their latest target and they’ll have undoubtedly been impressed with what they witnessed.
The 21-year-old has plundered an uber-impressive 11 goals in 18 Super League starts, as well as two in one Europa League outing for FC Krasnodar.
He still found the time to rustle the net twice in just one substitute appearance for Senegal this term, while his record in the Switzerland Cup stands at two strikes from two starts.
Clearly, Konate is quite the expert goal fiend, but would West Ham signing the Senegal sharpshooter – an eventuality rated at 2/1 by the bookies in black and gold, bwin.com – be a wise move?
The unprecedented levels of success the club have savoured when buying from this country suggest yes, but there is one extenuating circumstance rendering the transfer a risky one.
It revolves around compatriot Sakho and the African Cup of Nations debacle.
West Ham were fined £71,000 for declaring their striker unfit to fly to Africa for the competition owing to a back injury, then selecting him for a 1-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City 18 days later.
The 25-year-old began the match on the bench but came on to score the winner, sparking outrage from the Senegalese FA.
An injury incurred when representing his country in November was the cause of the Hammers’ reluctance to release their chief goal-getter and the opportunity for further perceived mistreatment of their players is only going to intensify if Konate is recruited.
They’ll have to relinquish the forward to the same governing body at every international break henceforth and with all good relations between them and the Hammers now in ruins, all kinds of administrative issues will be encountered.