Livorno insist they had no choice but to sell Alessandro Diamanti to West Ham United.

"Diamanti literally begged us in tears to let him join West Ham," director of sport Nelso Ricci told the Corriere dello Sport.

"He said this is the opportunity of a lifetime. He thanked the President for having signed him from Prato in Serie C2, but now he wants to leave.

"West Ham will pay £5.5m in three years. What could [President Aldo] Spinelli do other than sell a player who no longer wants to be here?

"We cannot keep unhappy players. Spinelli had already improved Diamanti's contract to match the higher earners, like [Cristiano] Lucarelli."