Filed: Monday, 3rd October 2011
By: Staff Writer
Out-of-favour Herita Illunga is poised to join Championship rivals Doncaster Rovers on loan.
The Congolese full-back has been frozen out at West Ham by manager Sam Allardyce since the closure of the summer transfer window, a situation that resulted from his refusal to join Scottish club Celtic on temporary terms.
Freshly-installed Doncaster manager Dean Saunders is understood to have stepped in to resurrect Ilunga's career and is said to be close to sealing a three-month loan deal for the 29-year-old, who was similarly dumped for the second half of last season by Allardyce's predecessor Avram Grant.
Ilunga has endured a topsy-turvy career in east London since joining the Hammers on a season-long loan back in September 2008.
Less than four months after signing for Gianfranco Zola's side - and having put in a number of eye-catching performances - Ilunga's agent went public on his client's desire to land a permanent - and lucrative - contract at the club.
"West Ham have the situation under control and are free to do what they want," said his agent, Daniel Striani speaking at the time. "We have not contacted other clubs who could be interested in signing him. But if they donít make a move to convert his loan deal into a permanent one, then we will adopt a different attitude."
Six months later - and in the wake of purported interest from fellow Premiership outfit Liverpool - Ilunga was rewarded with a four-year contract, tying him to West Ham, who paid former club Toulouse £2.4million for his services until the end of the 2012/13 season.
It also signalled the end of his best days as a player, as his performances slowly began to get more erratic and error-strewn as time passed.
With Avram Grant installed as Zola's replacement once the Italian had been given his marching orders in May 2010, Ilunga lasted just six months before being dropped from the Israeli's squad for the latter half of the 2010/11 season, with loanee Wayne Bridge drafted in to replaced him.
Grant's exit after just one season presented him with another opportunity to prove his worth - this time to Sam Allardyce. However horrendous errors in the opening games of this season against Cardiff and Leeds prompted Allardyce to hastily ditch Ilunga, who was replaced by loanee George McCartney.
The Congolese left-back's refusal to even discuss a loan move to Celtic as the summer transfer window drew to a close was the straw that broke the camel's back for Allardyce, who informed the former international that he would no longer be considered for his first team squad.
Having sat on the sidelines for just over a month, it would appear that Ilunga has finally agreed to a loan move in order to get regular first team football.
Ilunga set for Boleyn return [9th Mar 2012]
How the transfer window happened [1st Feb 2012]
So long, Herita [27th Jan 2012]
Ilunga returns - but for how long? [6th Jan 2012]
The barest bones [29th Dec 2011]
Ilunga: no confidence [7th Oct 2011]
Ilunga gone [4th Oct 2011]
Hendon laments late winner [20th Sep 2011]
A Bridge too far for Ilunga? [10th Sep 2011]
by g portugal
09:07AM 4th Oct 2011
''This is the right move for the club and player.''
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