Senegal star believes he was fit to start against the doomed Black Cats but boss did not agree
DIAFRA SAKHO had a huge bust-up with West Ham boss Slaven Bilic before yesterday’s draw with Sunderland after he REFUSED to go on the bench.
The Senegal striker is making his way back into the Hammers first-team fold after being sidelined for more than three months with a chronic back problem.
He believes he was fit to start against the doomed Black Cats, but Bilic was set to put him on the bench for the third match running.
The 27-year-old made it clear to the ex-Croatia chief he would NOT be travelling with the West Ham squad and declared himself injured again.
It is thought he was left back in London, where his future with the club is set to be decided, and he is expected to be axed in the summer.
A London Stadium source revealed: “His absence against Sunderland was a result of not being picked for the starting eleven.
“The player thought he was fit and ready to play but the boss wanted to offer him a place on the bench rather than give him his first start of the season.
“He has been begging to make his claim in the team for weeks as they are struggling. It has all then kicked-off.
“The player made it clear it wasn’t good enough and had another fall-out with the boss. He then declared himself injured and unable to make the bench.”
Sakho returned to the West Ham first-team picture last week and was in the squad for their matches against Arsenal and Swansea.
He was expected to help the struggling Hammers against Sunderland and mystery surrounded his absence before the 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon.
Bilic said just last week: “He wants to play now, but he has been out for a long time and we need to be a little careful with him.”
The ex-Metz ace has a fiery relationship with the West Ham boss after a number of off-the-field rows led to a breakdown in their relationship.
He also failed a medical at West Brom last summer when a £15m fee was agreed because of his recurring back issues.
Sakho joined the Hammers from Metz in 2014 on a four-year deal for £4.25m and he has gone on to score 16 times in 47 appearances.