Alou Diarra
Diarra close to a West Ham exit, report suggest.Reuters

West Ham United midfielder Alou Diarra will bring an end to his nightmare spell in east London by completing a switch to St Etienne with Max Gradel poised to move in the other direction, reports suggest.

The France international's time at the club has been plagued by injury and discontent, having stated his intention to leave Upton Park on more than one occasion and even suggesting at one point that he had been duped into a move to the Hammers.

The 32-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with Rennes and appears to be edging closer to a return to his homeland with St Etienne identifying him as the as solution to their midfield problems, having already missed out on a host of other targets with the transfer deadline quickly approaching, according to Foot Mercato.

Former Leeds United forward Max Gradel is prepared to make the move in the other direction, reports suggest, having been told by St Etienne manager Christophe Galtier that he is allowed to leave the club this month.

'We have several positions where we have double players in, sometimes even more than that," said Galtier.

"Max-Alain Gradel also needs to play for the upcoming World Cup, so we will not oppose any departure of his."

After sealing deals for Italian internationals Antonio Nocerino and Mario Borriello, Sam Allardyce indicated he was finished with his January spending. But the Hammers boss has already gone back on that statement after the club concluded a deal to sign former Crystal Palace and Manchester City midfielder Abdul Razak from Anzhi.

The 21-year-old could yet be joined by his Ivory Coast teammate Gradel, who has reportedly rejected the opportunities to join former club Leeds United and Hull City this month.

Elsewhere at West Ham, 23-year-old defender Jordan Spence has re-joined League One side Milton Keynes Dons and striker Paul McCallum has joined SPL side Hearts on loan deals until the end of the season.