Quality defenders are a rarity nowadays, considering that not only are they asked to do their defensive role but also play out with the ball.
Over the summer, West Ham paid £22 million for Toulouse defender, Issa Diop to make him their club record signing at the time – before they signed Felipe Anderson.
The French defender has made a great start to his career at the club and with his arrival, the fans can finally forget the days of having fan favourites yet fairly average players like James Tomkins.
The 21-year-old defender had established himself as one of the best young defenders in Ligue 1 during his time with the south of France club. Ever since making his debut, he was a constant in the side and this season he’s quickly established himself as an essential player for Manuel Pellegrini this season.
He’s an imposing defender and has put in a series of impressive displays for the side. Against Tottenham, he put in a superb performance and recently against Newcastle, he had arguably his best game for the club.
On the ball, he’s very comfortable and in partnership with Fabian Balbuena, it looks as though West Ham now have a solid defensive partnership.
TT Grade: B
A product of the West Ham academy, James Tomkins would go on to make 243 appearances for the club and would establish himself as a fan favourite, although not one of the best players.
After eight years, the defender was sold by the club in a £10 million deal to Crystal Palace and has gone on to become a solid first-team player for Roy Hodgson’s side. In his first season, he played 24 games and in his third season with the south London club, he’s played 13 games.
This year he’s been one of the better players for the club and will be key in keeping them in the league this season although, in comparison with Diop, he isn’t really anywhere close to the Frenchman in terms of talent.
TT Grade: C+
It’s not the hardest battle to do really. Issa Diop is an incredibly talented player and one that looks as though he could go onto to become a star for the Hammers in the future. Tomkins was a solid player for West Ham albeit not one of the best.