New deal for Diao


LONDON, July 9 – Senegalese veteran midfielder Salif Diao won himself a new one year contract with English Premier League makeweights Stoke City on Wednesday.SALIF_DIAOThe 32-year-old former Liverpool player – who never flowered there after being signed by Gerard Houllier following an impressive showing at the 2002 World Cup where Senegal reached the quarter-finals – played 21 times for Stoke last term in which they did well to avoid relegation.

"I’m really happy to sign the contract. I’ve always wanted to stay here and the club always wanted me to stay here too," said Diao, who also had short spells at Birmingham City and Portsmouth in England after beginning his career in France.

"There’s a very difficult season ahead of us now and it’s good for everything to be sorted out now."

Stoke also rewarded their longest serving player defender Andy Wilkinson with a year’s extension to his present contract to keep the 24-year-old at the club until 2012.

"I’m delighted that I’ve signed the extension to my contract.

"It was a dream come true to play for the club I supported as a kid and now to sign a new deal for another season going into the Premier League is another dream."

Stoke’s muscular no frills style football saw them finish 12th in their first season in the Premier League last term, scoring just 38 goals in 38 matches.