El Hadji Diouf looks to be moving closer to getting the move away from Anfield he so desires.
Diouf was signed by Gerard Houllier for £10m in 2002. At the time Liverpool fans were disappointed that Houllier had backed out of a move for Nicolas Anelka, but had been assured that Diouf was much better for the club.
Diouf never settled at Anfield, picking up more cautions than he scored goals, and when Rafael Benitez took over Diouf had already been told he wasn’t part of the plans.
Sam Allardyce has managed to get more out of the Senegalese international during his one-season loan deal at Bolton, and now it seems that Allardyce is likely to get the player permanently.
Bolton’s Chairman Phil Gartside told the Manchester Evening News that talks with Liverpool were at and advanced stage: "We are very close to doing a deal with Liverpool – that’s all I can say at the moment. He’s the first target. When we’ve done that we’ll look at other things."
Liverpool’s boss Benitez said earlier in the season that he wants £4million for the player, and wouldn’t allow him to go out on loan again. If he doesn’t secure a permanent move he’ll be expected back at Melwood, even if he spends the rest of his time under contract without appearing for the first team.
Diouf was in trouble for spitting at a Celtic fan in the UEFA Cup during Houllier’s time at the club, and has continued to get into trouble on loan at the Reebok. He’s served two three-match bans this season and was booked again on Sunday. Bolton’s league success this season – they have finished sixth and qualified for Europe – means that Bolton have a little more available in transfer funds than normal.