Tottenham Hotspur are considering whether to meet Mohamed Diamé's £3.5m release clause at West Ham United and tempt the midfielder across London this month, with the club's chairman, Daniel Levy, coming to view the midfielder as an interesting investment.
André Villas-Boas, the Tottenham manager, would love to sign the midfielder João Moutinho, a player he worked with during his time in charge at Porto and whom he unsuccessfully attempted to bring to White Hart Lane last summer. But back then, Moutinho's price proved prohibitive – it was upwards of £20m – and he is similarly out of reach now.
Diamé has emerged as a more viable option due to his well-publicised release clause, and Tottenham are one of a number of clubs to have been alerted; Arsenal, Everton and Fulham are also interested. The 25-year-old Senegalese was used only as a late substitute in West Ham's 5-1 Premier League defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday night, sparking the conspiracy theorists to life. But Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, insisted that the move was based purely on technical reasons and the club have closed ranks around the player, who is happy at Upton Park and grateful to Allardyce for the faith that he has placed in him. Diamé, who signed as a free agent from Wigan Athletic last summer, even released a statement to reassure West Ham's supporters about his commitment.
"I know there are people out there saying things about me, but I have spoken with the manager and told him that I want to stay here," Diamé said on West Ham's website. "I know the club want to keep me too, so I will continue to give my best for them. I knew when I signed that West Ham were going to make their mark on the Premier League. Since I came here, I am enjoying every game I play on the pitch. I think I made a good choice because I am very happy at this club."
Allardyce has admitted that the January window is a deeply unsettling time for him and the situation over Diamé is made difficult by the clause, and the associated power of clubs with Champions League aspirations to turn the midfielder's head. West Ham, though, have yet to receive a bid for Diamé and Allardyce would not welcome one. "He is our player and hopefully, come 1 February, he will still be our player," Allardyce said.
Villas-Boas has lost the midfielder Sandro for the rest of the season to knee ligament surgery and he has asked Levy to bring forward the transfer of Lewis Holtby from Schalke to this month's window. The attacking midfielder has signed a pre-contract to move to White Hart Lane in the summer.
If Diamé were to be tempted, it may allow Villas-Boas to reassess the futures of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore. Fulham and Queens Park Rangers are interested in both of them. Villas-Boas is reluctant to sanction the release of Huddlestone, in particular.