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Slaven Bilic denies rift with Diafra Sakho

Claims striker didn’t travel to Sunderland because of injury

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Slaven Bilic has come out and rubbished rumors that he and striker Diafra Sakho had an argument about Sakho’s status for the Sunderland game, and instead claims that the Senegalese striker had a “small injury” that forced him to miss the Sunderland game. In an interview with the official site,, Bilic said that “He said ‘I am only frustrated because I have a small injury but I hope to be back for the game against Everton’ and we will see that. There was no argument whatsoever between us. I can say from my direct conversation with Diaf that it’s not the case and it’s not true what it said in the ‘papers.’”

Earlier reports from the weekend had said that insider sources had told them that the pair had reportedly quarreled over Sakho starting the game on the bench and that he had refused to travel with the team.

Sakho had requested a transfer away from the team last summer, and was all set for a transfer to West Bromwich Albion when he apparently failed the medical at West Brom with fitness concerns. Sakho would then miss most of the opening matches of the season, coming back in November to start against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in the Premier League. He scored his first, and only, goal of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford, only to get injured again.

Sakho then had surgery and was forced to miss months of time, and it was even reported that he might be out for the rest of the season. He came back to training only this month, and came off the bench in the loss against Arsenal, playing just 26 minutes.

It’s no secret that Sakho does not see his future at the club, and at this point, the club should move on from Sakho as well. Bust up or no bust up, the point remains that Sakho has been unavailable for much of the season. While his initial form for the club was extraordinary, the past two years have seen him play the part of passenger on the good ship West Ham. A change for both the club and the player is needed at this point.