By Gursimran Hans
Diafra Sakho has finally completed a transfer away from the club, joining French side Rennes for a fee believed to be £8 million.
The Senegalese striker, 28, joined West Ham for £3.5 million in the summer of 2014, in a move which saw Modibo Maiga move on loan the other way. Sakho had been the top scorer at Metz in the previous two seasons.
A confirmed Sulli special, with Sam Allardyce having preferred the signing of Connor Wickham.
Sakho made his debut in the 3-1 away victory against Crystal Palace and would score seven times in his first seven starts, six of them in the league and was awarded October 2014 Premier League Player of the Month.
Controversy then ensued as Sakho pulled out of Senegal’s African Cup of Nations squad due to a back injury and then played and scored the winner in an FA Cup fourth round cup tie against Bristol City. He was unable to travel by plane, so had to make his way down to Bristol in a limousine.
Senegal reported West Ham to FIFA and the club were fined 100,000 Swiss francs.
Sakho finished his first season at the club with 10 league goals in 23 matches, one League Cup goal in one match and one goal in two FA Cup matches to finish as the club’s top scorer.
He began his second season with two goals in the first leg of a Europa League tie against Andorran side Lusitanos, but was sent off in the second leg.
He was arrested twice in August 2015, first on suspicion of common assault, criminal damage and malicious communication towards his girlfriend and again on suspicion of threatening to kill and witness intimidation. He denied all allegations and was cleared of all charges in November 2015.
That month, he tore his hamstring taking a shot against West Brom and was out injured for three months. After this, Sakho’s relationship with the club spiralled out of control. There are conflicting reports about whether or not he was injured, however reports suggest he walked out on the club and refused to play after being told he would not start in a match against Arsenal and missed several subsequent fixtures, including an FA Cup final against Manchester United.
He return for the final few fixtures, scoring the opener in the final match at The Boleyn Ground, and ending a second season with five league goals in 21 games, two goals in as many Europa League games and one appearance in the FA Cup.
In the summer of 2016, the club rejected an £11 million pound offer from Sunderland and he refused to join pre-season training in Austria. A £16 million move to West Brom collapsed after the player was too unfit to complete a medical.
Sakho eventually returned to the first team but was criticised for a lack of effort in his first game against Spurs before scoring in his second away at Manchester United before breaking down with another injury.
Despite the club confirming on their website that the player would be out for the rest of the season in March, Sakho made two more substitute appearances in April.
In his fourth season at the club, Sakho reportedly arranged a medical without the club’s knowledge although it does appear there was a breakdown in communication between the parties.
In 2017-18, Sakho only started League Cup matches scoring twice. He scored two Premier League goals against Swansea and Stoke but did not start under manager David Moyes, appearing just twice with substitute appearances against Chelsea in the league and Arsenal in the cup, where he was again criticised for a lack of effort.
With just six months left on his contract it was a good idea to let him go, Sakho’s time in East London will be remembered for his purple patch at the beginning of his spell and then injuries and reports he refused to play. He departs with 24 goals in 71 games.