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Alessandro Diamanti close to West Ham switch

PUBLISHED: 18:05 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:46 05 October 2010

Alessandro Diamanti is close to completing his dream move to West Ham after the Hammers agreed a £5.5m deal with Livorno

Alessandro Diamanti is close to completing his dream move to West Ham after the Hammers agreed a £5.5m deal to sign the striker from Italian club Livorno this week.

Diamanti, 26, was expected at Upton Park today to undergo a medical prior to finalising a long-term contract that will end Gianfranco Zola's desperate search for a new forward.

Zola has been tracking Diamanti throughout the summer, but a deal to sign the forward looked to have collapsed last week after Livorno demanded more cash for the skilful attacker, who was playing in Italy's third tier just two years ago.

But West Ham officials travelled to Italy on Monday to hammer out a deal after Diamanti rejected a new contract at Livorno and pleaded with the club to allow him to move to the Premier League.

Livorno director of sport Nelso Ricci has confirmed that the striker is set to join the Hammers. Ricci said: "Diamanti literally begged us in tears to let him join West Ham.

"He said this is the opportunity of a lifetime. He thanked the president for having signed him but now he wants to leave."

Hammers boss Zola remains hopeful of adding another striker by pushing through a deal for Marouane Chamakh, though defender James Collins must first be sold to raise funds.

Collins has attracted interest from Stoke and Aston Villa and could leave Upton Park within the next 48 hours.

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