I love England, says Town target

IPSWICH Town target Drissa Diallo is in love with English football.He was born in Mauritania, grew up in Paris, spent a lot of his career in Belgium and has won more than 30 caps for Guinea.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH Town target Drissa Diallo is in love with English football.

He was born in Mauritania, grew up in Paris, spent a lot of his career in Belgium and has won more than 30 caps for Guinea.

But after just 18 appearances in four months at Burnley he is convinced his future lies in this country.

Now the big question is whether free agent Diallo will decide to remain at Turf Moor or elect to join the Joe Royle revolution at Portman Road.

Town boss Royle confirmed yesterday that the 30-year-old central defender is one of his summer targets, as exclusively revealed in The Evening Star last week.

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Diallo snubbed Portsmouth to join Burnley in January this year after his Belgian club, Mechelen, went into liquidation.

He was under contract until June 2005 but all the players were released, leaving him free to pursue his career in England.

Initially, he signed a one-month deal but impressed sufficiently for Clarets boss Stan Ternent to fix him up for the remainder of the season.

"It has always been my dream to play here," said Diallo. "I have a lot of friends in England and they have always told me that I should come here because it would suit my game.

"I like the football, the passion and the pace. It is similar in many ways to Belgium but over there you do sometimes get time to slow the game down. Here it is non-stop for 90 minutes."

Diallo moved to Paris with his parents when he was only four and he was 19 when he joined regional club Limeil-Brevannes. Then he was snapped up by Sedan, where he spent four years before moving to Belgian club Tilleur Luik.

In 1998 he switched to Mechelen, helping them to win promotion to the top flight in his first season there.

Swindon Town, then managed by Colin Todd, failed with a £150,000 offer for Diallo in 2000.

Instead he stayed in Belgium, going down and back up again with Mechelen before the club's cash problems got the better of them.

Diallo said: "We used to go weeks without being paid and then players started to leave.

"I had two offers to stay in Belgium, but I really wanted to come to England."

Now Diallo and his fiancee, Aicha, could be on the move again – this time to Suffolk.

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