The Senegalese star and team-mate Sven Kums were the targets after they had just joined Kortrijk.
West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has looked like one of the signings of the season in the Premier League. The powerful star, snapped up from Anderlecht in the summer, has shone in midfield for the London club and has even done a job covering at the heart of defence.
He had already proved in his time in Belgian football what a talent he was and has now spoken of that period in his career with Sport/Voetbalmagazine, as reported by Voetbal Nieuws.
In particular he spoke of a time a rather shady advisor tried to force him into a move elsewhere. Kouyate was a year into his spell with Anderlecht and had just agreed a move to Kortrijk on loan. But this agent felt the West Ham man had agreed to go elsewhere:
"At the end of a workout in Kortrijk, two armed men came to me and [team-mate] Sven Kums.
"We were 'invited' to follow them. When we got to their car, we were pushed into it.
“I saw [the agent] who laughed out loud: ‘is this what you think, you can so quickly escape me, the fact that you are here today, you owe me?’ He also wanted 30,000 euros because his friend, who had given me shelter, was robbed. He accused me of it, I will never forgive him."
But it turns out that Kouyate, who was only 18 at the time, had a guardian angel. Fellow Senegalese player Elimane Coulibaly was also at Kortrijk at the time, and Kouyate explains how he came to the rescue:
"At the same time, my big brother Elimane Coulibaly had been told that I was being harassed. I will never forget the moment when he came, the first guard down with a hit, bam, and the second, bam!
“[The agent] wanted to arrange something but could only became nervous and said: 'Sven and Cheik, in the car and you, go home!
“They never came back!”
Quite a dramatic tale from the West Ham star. Now those days are behind him. At 25-years-old he is probably the envy of many a manager after a series of stirring displays for West Ham this season.
Plus, he has grown up to be a pretty big bloke himself. We doubt many will be telling him what to do again in a hurry.