MOMO Diame turned his back on a new contract that would have put him among Wigan Athletic’s top earners to join West Ham.
The 25-year-old put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Upton Park on Wednesday, with his rumoured wage packet believed to be in the region of £50,000 a week.
West Ham were able to push the boat out as he was a free agent, having seen out the three-year contract he signed when arriving at Wigan from Rayo Vallecano in the summer of 2009.
And despite Wigan’s attempts to provide a competitive counter-package, they were blown out of the water by the money on offer from the newly-promoted Hammers.
“His potential is really good and he’s ready to go and compete in the first year as he’s already had three years in the Premier League,” gushed Hammers chief Sam Allardyce.
“He’s 25 and can only get better, and he will be a very exciting addition to the squad.”
Diame made 103 appearances in total for Latics – 96 of them in the Premier League – and chipped in with five goals.
The last of those came in the controversial 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in April, when Latics were robbed of at least a point by some dubious decision-making by the officials.
It was far and away the midfielder’s biggest contribution during the second half of the campaign, which was badly disrupted by the African Nations Cup and never really got going again afterwards.
In fact, Diame didn’t make a single start for Latics in 2012, with James McCarthy and James McArthur forming an impressive partnership in the engine room that inspired the club’s latest Great Escape.
That said, the Senegalese international admits he leaves Wigan with a huge amount of sorrow.
“I’ve been very happy during my time with Wigan. It’s been a great club to play for,” he said. “The fans have always been amazing with me. They made my life easy and I won’t forget that.”
Diame becomes the second of the five players released this summer to get fixed up, with Chris Kirkland having joining Sheffield Wednesday on a two-year deal last month.
That leaves Steve Gohouri, Hendry Thomas and Hugo Rodallega still available on free transfers, with Scottish champions Celtic continuing to be linked with a move for the Colombian hitman.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are believed to be weighing up a second offer for Victor Moses, having seen an opening bid – understood to be in the region of £3million – rejected out of hand earlier this week.
The player himself has spoken about the link for the first time, after completing his commitments with the Nigeria international side at the weekend.
“Now that I’m done with the national team, my attention will switch to the transfer window,” he said.
“I have heard a lot of offers are on the table. First of all Wigan have the final say, but for me the highest bidder would take the day. Right now I am still a DW faithful.”