Will West Ham’s Diafra Sakho shine once again next season?
Every passing Premier League campaign always manages to produce a somewhat surprise new addition within its ranks, seemingly without fail. It’s just become part and parcel of the modern day game.
From the young, home-grown talents making their way up through their respective club academies, to the largely unknown foreign stars looking to make a name for themselves on these here shores – the English game is never without its fair share of fresh emerging talent.
And throughout the 2014/15 campaign for West Ham United in particular, Senegalese front-man, Diafra Sakho, certainly became that player. The 25-year-old striker registered an impressive 12 goals in all competitions for the Hammers last season – successfully becoming the club’s top goal-scorer, despite his initially unknown status. Not bad for a player who only cost West Ham a grand total of £3.5 million last summer.
So, with the upcoming 2015/16 season already fast approaching for the English top flight, just how will the Upton Park faithful’s latest hero fare next term?
Will the no. 15 shine once again in the Premier League as he so readily proved last season, or will Diafra Sakho simply drift away now that he no longer has the element of surprise on his side?
For those among the West Ham fans who regularly watched the Senegalese international in 2014/15, the signs certainly remain promising. Sakho seemingly takes to the art of goal-scoring with a real determination and tenacity that most wouldn't have expected of him when he first set foot in the east end last summer.
When it comes to offering his respective manager – whether it be Sam Allardyce last season, or Slaven Bilic in the next – a truly reliable asset in the final third, Diafra Sakho will rarely disappoint. This is a player who once vowed to score in every single home game he played at the Boleyn Ground, and although such an amazing stat hasn’t quite come off for the ambitious attacker, the player himself hasn’t actually been too far off achieving that particular goal in all honesty.
Sakho brought with him a decent, yet albeit rather understated, reputation within the French game when he first made the switch to Upton Park last summer. He had only really tested himself within the second tier of French football before he made his official West Ham debut, yet among the many FC Metz fans sad to see their top goal-scorer leaving for the Premier League, the player himself was widely recognised as a potentially exciting talent.
And alongside the likes of Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll in West Ham’s two-man strike-force last season, Diafra Sakho only continued along his rapid rise within the European footballing scene. Reported interest from both Liverpool and Manchester United subsequently followed for the increasingly impressive striker as the goals started flying in at Upton Park.
However, when Big Sam reverted to using the Senegalese star as a solitary front-man without a great deal to work off of, the results weren’t nearly as captivating. Therefore, whilst Diafra Sakho certainly proved a promising asset throughout the 2014/15 campaign, he must be played in the correct way if West Ham are going to continue to get the best out of their trusty no. 15.
That said though, new boss Slaven Bilic will likely have noticed how last season eventually played out for the Hammers in general, and will subsequently use Sakho to his maximum efficiency throughout the coming campaign. When given a recognised strike partner up-top and the freedom to run the channels for the whole 90 minutes, the in-form 25-year-old can definitely still do the business across the approaching season.
If the Upton Park favourite can shake off his slightly concerning back problems ahead of the 2015/16 campaign, bulk up slightly to deal with the physical nature of the Premier League, and simply continue to draw confidence from his performances with every passing game – then there is absolutely no reason to suggest that Diafra Sakho won’t prove just as successful next season as he turned out to be last term.
If things go truly well for the Senegalese front-man and the West Ham fans in conjunction however, then the player himself may even improve throughout 2015/16, proving his initial doubters wrong when he first joined up with the Premier League this time last year.
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