According to a recent report from The Daily Mail, Everton were one side keeping tabs on defender Issa Diop ahead of his summer move. The 21-year-old had been playing his football at French outfit Toulouse prior to sealing a deal with Premier League club West Ham during the summer, for whom he has impressed in the early stages of his time in East London.
Yet reports suggest that Marco Silva’s Everton were one side whose scouts ‘were aware’ of the £19.8 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), and such has been his fine start to life in English football, alongside Everton’s own struggles defensively, the Toffees will surely live to regret losing the summer race for the centre back.
Ultimately, the defensive department has been a problem area for the Merseyside club for some time now, with even former boss Sam Allardyce, renowned for setting teams up to be tough to break down and thus beat, overseeing a campaign in which his side shipped 58 goals in their 38 Premier League games last season.
And with Phil Jagielka entering the twilight of his career, Michael Keane embarking on a testing first season at the club, and indeed Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori leaving Goodison Park during the summer, the emphasis was on new boss Silva to lure defensive talent to the Toffees.
And while he has indeed done that with the additions of Kurt Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, and Yerry Mina from Barcelona, the latter has yet to feature because of injury, and the former is only at the club until the end of the season – thus, there are still a few question marks.
And with the Toffees having already conceded 11 goals in their 11 league games this time round, keeping only their first clean sheet of the campaign on Saturday against Fulham, they may well be regretting failing to win the race for West Ham’s Diop, who has certainly impressed so far.
The France Under-21 international arrived at the London Stadium for a club record £22 million as the Hammers themselves sought to improve their own defensive ranks, and while he didn’t feature in either of their opening two games, he has since made a centre back spot his own with some very commanding displays.
Diop was particularly impressive in their 3-1 win over Everton a few weeks back before helping Manuel Pellegrini’s side keep their first clean sheet of the season against Chelsea a week later – he didn’t give Olivier Giroud anything that day.
And it all culminated in a wonderful display against Manchester United on Saturday, which prompted Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho to heap praise on the Frenchman, stating that he was ‘a monster who dominated everything in the duels’ – very high praise indeed.
And that is exactly the sort of defender Everton have been crying out for in the early stages of this season, and given he was a defender they were indeed keeping tabs on during the summer, it will surely hurt Silva and the club’s hierarchy to see him dominating for West Ham.
Thus, given Everton’s own defensive struggles, they may be regretting failing to seal a deal for Diop prior to his move to the London Stadium.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!