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Inter Milan pull plug on permanent deal for West Ham target Keita Balde Diao after failed prank
Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Inter Milan pull plug on permanent deal for West Ham target Keita Balde Diao after failed prank

There has been a bizarre twist in the career of West Ham United target Keita Balde Diao.

Former Lazio attacker Diao has been linked with West Ham for the last two seasons.

Indeed Tuttomercatoweb released two reports back in November claiming the Hammers and Wolves were hoping to bring the speedy Senegal international to the Premier League.

The former Barcelona youth player joined Monaco from Lazio instead but was soon loaned out to Inter Milan.

Photo by Claudio Villa Inter via Getty Images

Inter snub Keita

His time at the San Siro has been hot and cold. Diao has scored four goals in 21 games but has failed to establish himself with the Serie A giants.

Inter were still believed to be ready to make the move permanent, thus ending any hopes West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini might have of renewing his interest this summer.

But there has been a strange twist in the tale after reports in Italy claimed Inter have pulled the plug following a prank which went wrong.

Photo by Giuseppe Maffia NurPhoto via Getty Images

Prank costs Hammers target his dream move

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (Football Italia), Keita was the victim of a prank gone wrong by satirical TV programme Le Iene on the eve of Inter’s match against Sampdoria back in February.

The newspaper writes the episode saw the Hammers target trapped in a hotel and forced to run away.

The show was never aired due lifelong Inter fan Keita refusing to sign the release.

Photo by Leila Coker MI News NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bullet dodged or second chance for West Ham?

In his dash to get away the £25million-rated 24-year-old aggravated a thigh injury. That kept him out for another six weeks and saw Inter chiefs lose patience.

It means one of two things for West Ham.

Either they dodged an expensive bullet in the first place.

Or the club now has a second chance to finally bring Keita to East London for a reunion with his old Lazio teammate Felipe Anderson.