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Diafra Sahko’s Links With Sunderland - Is He ‘Homeward’ Bound?

According to various London-based media outlets, Diafra Sahko ‘handed in a transfer request’ early last week. What are his intentions now, and is he bringing his ‘family’ home? Sakho has links to the North East which may sway his decision.

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Sunderland were first linked with Diafra Sahko at the end of May. First he said he wanted his future sorted out quickly, and now he’s handed in the proverbial ‘transfer request’. But, surely sitting down to type out a resignation letter is a defunct object in modern day football. Does it just signal he’s thrown two fingers up at West Ham, or is it a bargaining tactic?

In reality, the ‘transfer request’, as a thing, probably doesn’t exist like it did any longer. You certainly don’t hear of players handing them in much these days. It’s more a phrase that still lingers to describe a footballer’s statement of intent that he’s off. It often accompanies a ‘come and get me plea’. The plea doesn’t crop up so much any longer either, though Moussa Sissoko issued a lovely one to Arsenal, just before the Euros started when he called the Gunners ‘beautiful’.

The PFA still maintain a database of players officially listed for transfer in the Premier and Football leagues. If a club has granted a transfer request or just told a player that he’s free to leave, their name is supposed to go on the list.

There is rarely many names on it though. Players tend to be reluctant to signal their intent to move clubs unless there’s something in it for them. In these days of loyalty bonuses and hard bargaining, openly advertising yourself in the classified ad section of the PFA’s website isn’t often a great negotiating tool.

Diafra Sahko joined West Ham from Metz in 2014 for a fee thought to be around £3.5m on a four year contract. He supposedly signed an improved deal in 2015.  Initially, last week, it was reported that he had not joined his team mates for a pre-season tour of America due to illness and receiving treatment for a back injury. Two days later he handed in that transfer request.

Repeated denials have been made that Sahko has fallen out with West Ham and manager Slaven Bilic but there have been a string of incidents to suggest that relations between club and player had reached a crisis point. Sahko was arrested last summer over an incident with his girlfriend but later faced no charges. There was also a bizarre situation with a social media post earlier this year, and a few injuries and moody appearances which provided a build up to his transfer request.

Where he heads for next is unclear - until now, he has been linked with Sunderland and West Brom. The Baggies are said to be ‘preparing an offer’. Sunderland supposedly put in a bid of £11m last month. With Saido Berahino still rumoured to be looking for an exit from West Brom, the Baggies will renew their efforts to sign a striker and we may end up with a minor bidding war here.

Some have suggested he favours a return to France, and it may be that a move there (he is Senagalese but moved to France in 2007 when he was eighteen) would suit him because, at present, his eldest child lives there.

The mother of his youngest child is his supposed ‘on-off’ girlfriend, Mya Hassan. Mya is a half-English, half-Tanzanian ‘socialite’ who owns a concierge service for the wealthy. She has history in certain celeb-gossip circles which are, frankly, beyond me, but some of it is detailed here.

Mya was accused by Tara Reid (Hollwood actress – keep up) of assaulting her for allegedly chatting up Edgar Davids back in 2012. She was later cleared of all charges. At the time Mya was said to be a friend of Carlton Cole’s. She was also linked, by some celeb bloggers, with a Nigerian billionaire last year. Mya was born in Jarrow and went to the University of Sunderland.

Her family are all from the north east and all successful in their careers. Her brother is a semi-professional footballer and the family run a successful business based in South Tyneside.

Sahko would be a superb signing for Sunderland. He’s powerful and quick and has a decent record. Maybe Diafra fancies bringing Mya ‘home’? Let’s hope so, eh?