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Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Diouf admits Liverpool deal
Salif Diao beats Emmanuel Petit to the ball
Diao (left) will stay in France for the time being

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Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf has attempted to clear up the confusion surrounding his transfer to English club Liverpool.

The star of Senegal's victory against France in the opening match of the World Cup confirmed to BBC Sport Online that he has already signed for the Premiership runners-up.

He said he will officially join them once he undergoes a medical following the end of Senegal's World Cup.

However, while he will join in time for the start of the season, Diouf said compatriot Salif Diao will remain with his club Sedan in France until the spring.

Open Quote
It is very comforting to know that Liverpool rate me highly enough to take me instead of Anelka
Close Quote
El Hadji Diouf
Diouf said: "I have definitely signed for Liverpool and so has Salif, but he will stay at his club for six months before going to England."

Diouf's club Lens have officially denied that the transfer has taken place, causing great confusion.

But according to Diouf, all is in order.

"I signed before the France game. All I have to do now is complete my medical visit at the end of the World Cup, and I will be a Liverpool player."

More money

Diouf has his own theory about the rumours surrounding his transfer.

"I spoke to Gervais Martel, the Lens president, after the game against France. He said that after the game I had, he wants to ask for more money, 20m or 30m!" Diouf said.

"But we laughed about it."

The cost of the transfer is estimated to be just under 12m.

Confidence

Diouf and Diao will become the first Senegalese to play in the English Premier League.

But the prospect of joining a large and talented squad does not frighten Diouf.

"Today in football if you are scared of competition you will not get very far," he said.

El Hadji Diouf
Diouf is aiming to be the Premiership's top scorer
"If you want to play in the best teams or be one of the best players in the world you have to accept this competition."

The 21-year-old striker has not been shy of setting himself some lofty goals for his first season in the Premiership.

"I am confident in myself," said the man nicknamed Serial Killer by the Senegalese press.

"I hope to be in good health and finish next season as one of the top scorers in the Premiership."

Liverpool hesitated a long time before choosing the Senegal striker over Anelka, a former English Young Footballer of the Year.

But their decision fills the African Player of the Year with pride.

"It is obviously very comforting to know that Liverpool rate me highly enough to take me instead of a great player like Anelka," said Diouf.

"But that is not important; what is important is to be at a big club, and above all to take my Senegal to the highest level possible."


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URUGUAY 3 -1 2
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