Sunderland make their move for Hammers striker

Diafra Sakho
Diafra Sakho

Sunderland’s pursuit of Diafra Sakho has stepped up a gear after the club tabled a bid for the West Ham striker.

The Black Cats are reported to have lodged an £11million offer for the Hammers forward, who is free to leave this summer.

If Sunderland and West Ham can thrash out a deal it would mean a reunion for Sakho and manager Sam Allardyce, who worked together at Upton Park in 2014-15.

The Hammers are understood to be ready to cash in on Sakho – valued at £15million – who has grown frustrated in East London.

The Black Cats have been tracking the Senegalese forward, who made a big impact initially in the Premier League and talks are progressing.

Sakho was signed for £3.5million from Metz in the summer of 2014, netting 12 goals in 26 games during Allardyce’s spell in chargek.

West Brom are also interested in the 6ft 1in striker, understood to be ready for a new challenge.

Allardyce and Sakho did not always see eye to eye, but he made an instant impact in a Hammers shirt, scoring eight goals in his first 10 games.

Sunderland are looking to bolster their attacking options and Sakho would fit the bill.

Boss Slaven Bilic has publicly claimed he would like to keep Sakho at West Ham ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium.

But the 26-year-old, who scored seven goals in 24 appearances in 2015-16, is expected to be among several players allowed to leave.

The Hammers want to bring in new strikers, with co-chairman David Sullivan stating earlier this week: “We need a 20-goal-a-season striker and that will cost us £25m or £30million.”

Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette, Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi and AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca have been linked and Sakho is among those allowed to leave to help finance new signings.

Despite their past differences, Allardyce remains a big fan of Sakho and he would offer something different to Sunderland’s current strikers.

With Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher set to leave, it leaves Allardyce with just Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini and Duncan Watmore as recognised forwards.

Both Borini and livewire Watmore were deployed out wide for much of 2015-16 though, and, with all three under 6ft, Sakho would also add some much-needed height.

Sakho has a proven track record in front of goal too, having scored 44 goals in 114 games for French side Metz before moving to the Premier League.