According to Mirror, Arsenal are ready to test West Ham’s resolve by making a summer move for Issa Diop. The Hammers are keen on keeping hold of their star defensive asset but could be forced to sell, should they fail to survive the drop this season. As for Arsenal, they could face stiff competition from Manchester United in the pursuit of Diop.
Issa Diop: Player profile
Diop joined West Ham United in the summer of 2018, in a €25 million move from Toulouse. Since then, he has become an ever-present figure of the club’s backline, having already notched up 64 appearances in all competitions. While the Hammers have struggled to maintain their defensive solidity, Diop has been somewhat of a bright spot.
Indeed, the Frenchman has impressed the onlookers with his doggedness at the back. In fact, he has averaged over five clearances per game – considerably more than any other player in the team this season. His tally of 1.7 interceptions per game, meanwhile, is indicative of Diop’s ability to read the game – making him a well-rounded centre-back.
Moreover, the 23-year-old boasts a tall 1.94m frame that makes him an intimidating presence in the backline. It also gives him a considerable advantage in the air, with the defender winning 62 headed duels this season with a success rate of 73%.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored
Should Arsenal make a move for Diop?
Diop would be a smart addition to the Arsenal squad. He has already proved his credentials during his short ongoing spell at West Ham and given his physical and aerial attributes; the Frenchman is a tailor-made fit for the nature of Premier League.
For Arsenal, Diop’s aggressive style of play could complement the much more technical figure of someone like David Luiz or even Pablo Mari. Moreover, if we consider his performances over the past two years, the ex-Toulouse star could potentially be an upgrade over Sokratis, whose lack of passing ability has left the Arsenal backline vulnerable, at times.
Where does Diop fit in at Arsenal?
Diop’s potential arrival at Emirates could significantly stack the defensive department of Arsenal. Indeed, the Gunners already have the likes of Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi while they have an option to make Mari’s move permanent in the summer. Also, Frenchman William Saliba is set to arrive at Emirates in the summer, following the end of his loan spell at St. Etienne.
That means it could be imperative for Arsenal to sell at least one of their defensive stars if they are to accomodate Diop into the team. Sokratis looks like an ideal candidate, though the likes of Rob Holding and Luiz have also failed to make the desired impact and could thus leave the club in the summer.
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