Alou Diarra had a troubled spell at Upton Park under Sam Allardyce, but is hoping to make the most of a fresh challenge in Ligue 2 with AS Nancy Lorraine
An open critic of Sam Allardyce during his ill-fated stint in London with West Ham, Alou Diarra will be hoping to show the Irons boss what he missed out on, with the defensive midfielder close to agreeing a move to Ligue 2 side AS Nancy Lorraine.
Something of a step down for the former Marseille and Rennes midfielder, Nancy nevertheless represent one of the contenders for promotion back to the French top-flight and could be the perfect chance for Diarra to enjoy regular game time and recover some of his form.
A France international with 44 caps to his name, Diarra featured for Les Bleus at Euro 2012 and was seen as one of the signings of the summer when Allardyce recruited him to the West Ham cause a couple of weeks after the competition..
But the 33-year-old soon found first-team opportunities difficult to come by, as injuries and a lack of form saw the West Ham boss opt to keep Diarra on the bench.
Things came to a head in January 2013 with the Frenchman expressing his displeasure during an interview with L’Equipe at the “lies” that convinced him to sign for the club.
'Admittedly, I have a three-year contract but I'm not unhappy financially, but I came to play, not to take an early retirement. I am positively at breaking point,” he told the news provider.
After a short loan with Rennes, Diarra returned to Upton Park and was duly released from his contract with the Irons.
Now on the comeback trail back in France, the 33-year-old appears refreshed and keen to get playing again.
Speaking about the potential move to Nancy, Diarra admitted he was relishing the “sporting challenge” the move could offer.
“Anything is possible, there is a young group, a coach who knows where things are going,” he said, in quotes published by Top Mercato, stressing that the fact the team was in Ligue 2 did not put him off.
“I am a free player. There's no ultimatum or dead line, if the club needs me, they will seek my counsel. "
Nancy are next in action away at Chateauroux this Friday, with just a single point separating the two sides in the Ligue 2 standings.
Was Allardyce right to sideline Diarra? What could have been done differently?