Reports by Le 10 Sport earlier this week claimed Stade de Reims are almost guaranteed to sell Boulaye Dia in the summer, but the striker’s efforts in Ligue 1 are starting to prove that West Ham were right to snub a January transfer.
Reims are unlikely to retain Dia beyond the current campaign as they are loath to lose the 24-year-old for free next year, when his £3k-per-week contract is due to expire.
With Dia also attracting interest from clubs around Europe, the Stade Auguste-Delaune natives feel they could recover at least €15m (£13m) for the Senegal international, despite the Irons refusing to match that valuation during the recently closed winter market.
Weekly magazine France Football claimed in January that David Moyes’ Irons felt the fee needed to acquire Dia in the middle of the campaign was too high for a player of his status, with the three-cap forward only in his third season of top-flight football.
Dia is also enjoying his best campaign in front of the net with 12 goals in 23 Ligue 1 appearances, though is yet to add to his tally since striking a brace at home to AS Saint-Etienne in early January.
Nonetheless, it was already proposed by France Football that the Plastics Vallee product was also on the radars of SSC Napoli, AC Milan and Torino, while Le 10 Sport now add Ligue 1 giants Olympique de Marseille and Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt to his list of suitors.
The German outfit seem particularly keen to elbow their way to the front of the queue, as well, with Adi Hutter’s Deutsche Bank Park natives planning to submit an offer at the end of the term.
Milan and Napoli have previously spoken with the attacker’s representatives over a move to Italy, while Telefoot Chaine, via GFFN, suggested the Irons were willing to pay €10m (£8.5m) in January.
But no matter the interest emerging around Europe, Dia’s efforts in Ligue 1 right now are proving Moyes and West Ham were right to ere on the side of caution and not swoop for the French-born striker.
Dia is six Ligue 1 appearances without a goal since scoring against Saint-Etienne, and it has not been through a lack of attempts with the 24-year-old taking 10 shots over those outings, per WhoScored.
He was also dispossessed five times – more than in any other league game this term – and took six unsuccessful touches – the second-highest amount in single-game – against RC Lens last time out, only against FC Nantes in December has he taken more (8).
Additionally, Dia registered a lowly 5.93 match rating against Angers SCO at the start of the month, to contribute to an average 6.2 over his last three appearances, far below his seasonal score of 6.92 or the personal best 9.62 achieved against Montpellier HSC in October.
The 5 ft 10 striker may have hit a brace in defeat to second-tier Valenciennes FC in the Coupe de France to take his tally to 14 in all competitions this season, and he would have offered another body in West Ham’s attack after Sebastien Haller joined AFC Ajax.
But Dia’s Ligue 1 efforts are only proving Moyes made the right call in refusing to match Reim’s asking price, and it will surely take a sizable turnaround for the Irons to swoop this summer.
It appears that the east Londoners dodged a sizeable bullet this January, even in their need for a proper striker replacement.