A glance through the latest newspaper gossip columns and you can usually find a whole host of players being linked with moves this summer, most of which you will be familiar with.
One player being linked with three of England’s biggest clubs, is a certain Pape Diakhate. Rumoured to have been watched by Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and now Aston Villa – some readers might be asking “who the hell is he”?
Not to worry. Can’t say I knew too much about him myself. The player is certainly well regarded, being linked also with the likes of Bayern Munich and Juventus.
Born in 1984 in Dakar, Senegal, Pape Diakhate is a Senegalese defender, currently at Dynamo Kiev having just finished last season on loan at Saint Etienne. Diakhate began his career at Nancy, making his debut in 2001. Also able to play at left back or as a defensive midfielder, a series of impressive performances at centre half saw him cement this position and be named in France Football’s Team of the Season in 2004.
International recognition soon followed, making his debut the same year before taking part in the 2006 African Cup of Nations. Diakhate is currently vice captain of the national team having earned 24 caps for his country, scoring one goal. After 142 league appearances, Diakhate left Nancy to join Dynamo Kiev where he quickly established himself in the side before a number of injuries curtailed his progress. In December 2009, Diakhate was loaned to Saint Etienne, after managing just 31 league appearances for Kiev in a three-year spell.
Known for his strength, aggression and speed, Diakhate is a player who could adapt well to the rigours of the Premier League. He also has Champions League experience, from which he gained very positive reviews whilst playing for Dynamo Kiev against both Manchester United and Arsenal.
Diakhate has ended his loan spell at Saint Etienne after they decided against meeting the rumoured £10 million price tag to make the move permanent.
Arsene Wenger seeks to improve his defence since the departure of William Gallas. The Frenchman certainly has history in spotting talent in lesser-known players. Whilst Pape Diakhate remains unfamiliar to many at the present moment, chances are high that we will be hearing a lot more about him in the months ahead.