It’s fair to say that Issa Diop has been key for West Ham United under Manuel Pellegrini and looks a really promising asset to have as the Chilean’s project in East London enters its second stage. Indeed, his superiority in terms of defensive contributions over fellow defenders Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna (stats via Squawka) largely attest to that.
While it’d perhaps be too much to say that his £22m arrival from Toulouse completely sorted the backline out, the fact that their goals conceded last season was at its lowest in three years itself at least shows some sort of improvement. Good news, right? Well, yes and no.
It seems that, as a result of his breakthrough performances in the Premier League last season, the Irons could be in danger of losing their star defender as according to Sky Sports, Manchester United are very interested in signing Diop.
In light of the rumours that the Red Devils would be ready to pay £45 million plus a player for the 22-year-old, the notion of losing him would obviously be a step backwards for Pellegrini. When looking at the fact that the Chilean hailed the Frenchman’s contribution back in March to the club’s official site (via Claret & Hugh), it’s clear to see why Man City boss is allegedly (via the Mirror) adamant he’s not for sale.
Speaking on Sky Sports (via HITC) in April, pundit Alan Smith even compared Diop to Premier League legend Patrick Vieira, so watching him depart after just a season in Stratford would truly be gutting.
Obviously, when looking into his stats of 2.1 tackles per game, 1.9 interceptions, 4.7 clearances and 2.3 aerial battles (stats via WhoScored) won per 90 mins – which eclipses the more senior Ogbonna or Balbuena– it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why he’d be such a miss.
Indeed, it’s not even really about the stats this season. It’s the potential West Ham would be missing out on, should Diop carry on the kind of upward trajectory that has seen him linked with such a big move just a year after leaving France in the first place. Perhaps there will come a time to sell him in the future but, for the present, the club need to keep their man.
West Ham fans, would you be disappointed by Diop’s potential departure? Join the discussion by commenting below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!