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West Ham to stave off Arsenal Diame pursuit with £60k-a-week contract offer

By Greg Stobart

West Ham are set to offer Mohamed Diame twice his current salary in an attempt to keep hold of the Arsenal target this January.

The midfielder joined the Hammers on a free transfer from Wigan this summer and has impressed since moving to Upton Park, triggering the Gunners to monitor his progress as revealed earlier in December.

The Senegal international has a release clause of £3.7 million, but West Ham officials are confident of tying Diame down with a £60,000-a-week deal, in which they would also remove the get-out fee.

Newcastle, Fulham and Liverpool have also all been linked with moves for the 25-year-old, who has been a revelation during the Hammers' first season back in the Premier League after securing promotion via the playoffs last season.

However, Arsenal are desperate for a midfield powerhouse, with Abou Diaby having seen his season wrecked through injury yet again, and hope the temptation of Champions League football will be enough to see Diame manoeuvre a switch to north London.

The Emirates Stadium outfit have also been monitoring Pepe Reina, Adrian Lopez and Wilfried Zaha ahead of the January window, with Arsene Wenger set to spend £50m to save the Gunners' floundering season.

And Upton Park boss Sam Allardyce has recently admitted that he could be "powerless" to keep hold of the Diame, given the interest surrounding him.
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"I don't disclose players' contracts publicly, and there's always a situation where you're powerless to keep a player because of the size of the price," he said.

"You can't turn it down. The chairman says: 'Look, we can't turn that down, Sam - we've got to move him on'."

Diame is currently facing up to 12 weeks on the sidelines after tearing his hamstring against Liverpool on Sunday.

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