Good defenders are hard to come by nowadays. With those at the back asked to do so much with the ball as well as defend, the actual art of defending seems to be dying out but it seems Leicester City and West Ham have signed two potential stars.
Now established as an England regular but also one of the stars of the England side going forward, Harry Maguire has had a meteoric rise since he moved to Leicester City in 2017 for a reported £17 million fee.
This summer West Ham followed Leicester’s lead and signed their version of an up and coming young defender in Toulouse centreback, Issa Diop.
Having impressed during his short spell with Hull City, Leicester signed Maguire for £17 million in order to freshen up their defence following the departure of Robert Huth.
Almost instantly the young defender showed that he was going to be the club’s star man at the back. Impressively for some of his huge size and stature, Maguire is fairly comfortable with the ball at his feet and often came out from the back to play the ball forward to break through the opposition.
At just 25, Maguire is coming into his prime and it would seem after such a superb first season and World Cup campaign that the defender will surely go on to one of the top six clubs before too long.
Maguire was a target for Man U over the summer and it would be a surprise if they didn’t go back in for him again. Leicester won’t be able to hold onto him for long but as it stands, that should show how great this transfer was.
TT Grade: A
Along with Malang Sarr, Issa Diop has been one of the biggest defensive prospects in France since making his debut three years ago for Toulouse. After establishing himself as one of the better young defenders in Ligue 1, West Ham signed Diop in a then-record fee of £22 million and since his arrival, the 21-year-old has played seven games for the Hammers in the league.
Much like Maguire, Diop is an imposing defender and has put in a series of impressive defensive displays for Manuel Pellegrini. Against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, Diop was a rock at the back and was a huge factor in stopping Tottenham from not scoring more goals.
On the ball, Diop is also incredibly comfortable and such is his defensive quality that his ability to play out from the back probably goes under the radar. With James Collins departing the club and Winston Reid out with a long-term injury, it seems West Ham have signed a future star.
TT Grade: B+
Diop’s impact on West Ham has been massive and it looks like Pellegrini has signed a top quality player. At 21, the potential of the youngster is massive and in the future it will be hard for the Hammers to keep him.
Maguire wins this one as he’s performed at a high level for longer. He’s been an instant hit at Leicester and is now a permanent fixture of Gareth Southgate’s side. Just for the fact that he’s had more time in the league and his small transfer fee, Maguire beats Diop.