Has Big Sam found his new Okocha for West Ham United in Yoann Gourcuff?

West Ham Upton Park

Thirteen years ago, Sam Allardyce made a brilliant move in bringing Jay-Jay Okocha from Ligue 1 to England. Has he found his new talisman in France?

This week, according to StarAfrica, West Ham United have shown interest in former France international and Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Yoann Gourcuff. The 28-year-old is available on a free this summer after four years at the Stade Gerland.

With his injury record, it would be a risk for any club to take a chance on the former Bordeaux and AC Milan playmaker, but at the London club, there is a chance that Sam Allardyce could get the best out of him, similar to the move that saw Jay-Jay Okocha become a star at Bolton Wanderers 13 years ago.

Last summer, the Hammers were linked with a move for Mathieu Valbuena as Big Sam tried to add a creative spark to his attack. Gourcuff is still two years younger than the Dynamo Moscow midfielder, and there is still the hope that a truly gifted playmaker exists, if only you can keep him fit.

Okocha was 29 years old when he moved from Paris Saint-Germain to the then Reebok Stadium – he would go on to play over 100 games for the Trotters over four years. He brought a spark of genius to the Lancashire team and became their talisman.

Gourcuff has all the attributes to do a similar job at Upton Park and he is the kind of player that captures your imagination. He is still highly regarded in Ligue 1, it’s more just an issue of fitness and continuous injury problems.

He has only managed to play 90 times over four years, and only averages 60 minutes per performance. Unless there is a huge turnaround, his career will forever be placed in the “what if” category. Perhaps a move to London, under the guidance of Allardyce, could bring that spark of life that French fans have been hoping for.

If it does happen, West Ham supporters would have a new hero in claret and blue that they could all worship.

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