Arsenal Enquired About This West Ham United Defender: Is He Really A Viable Option For Emery?

According to The Sun, Arsenal had enquired about the availability of West Ham United defender Issa Diop. The Gunners are believed to be keen on signing another defender. But, the Hammers’ staggering £60 million valuation for the centre-back was enough to force the North London giants to drop the pursuit. But, in any case, was Diop a viable option for Unai Emery?

Diop’s success in the Premier League

Diop initially joined West Ham from FC Toulouse for a fee of £22.5 million last summer. He enjoyed quite an eventful debut campaign in the Premier League, though West Ham didn’t have the best of starts. 

The Frenchman was an ever-present figure in the backline, making 38 appearances in all competitions. He built a strong defensive partnership with Angelo Ogbonna and later, Fabian Balbuena.

Diop’s solidity in defence coupled with his intimidating figure helped the Hammers make an impressive turnaround under Manuel Pellegrini and helped them finish in the top half of the table.

What can he bring to the table?

As mentioned earlier, Diop has a physically imposing frame. Standing at 1.94m, the 22-year-old is an intimidating presence for the attackers. His massive frame also makes him quite dominant in the air and a threat from set-pieces. He most notably won 2.3 headed duels per game last season.

Aside from that, Diop is an excellent reader of the game, having averaged almost two interceptions per game. Additionally, the defender attempted 2.7 tackles per game with a success rate of 77%. However, he certainly needs to improve his ball distribution a bit.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

Is Diop a good option for Arsenal?

Diop will undoubtedly enhance the overall quality of the Arsenal backline that are poised to offload Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny this summer. Mustafi has been linked with a move to Monaco while Koscielny is also determined to leave the club.

Diop, in that regard, could appear as the first-choice centre-back alongside Sokratis. The fact that he has already proven his quality in the Premier League means it is unlikely that he would face any difficulty in settling into his new club. 

But, at the same time, Diop’s £60 million price-tag is excessively expensive for Arsenal. The Gunners reportedly have almost no money left in their budget after funding moves for Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba and Dani Ceballos. Hence, he is an unrealistic target for the Gunners at the moment but one who is certainly capable of solving the club’s defensive problems.

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