An update has emerged regarding Crystal Palace’s interest in West Ham centre-back Issa Diop.
The report claims that the Eagles are looking to bring the Frenchman in on loan after the arrival of Kurt Zouma at the London Stadium pushed him further down the pecking order under David Moyes.
Steve Parish must ensure that he can get a loan deal over the line for Diop before the window slams shut tonight, as he could be an excellent addition to the squad and a player who Patrick Vieira would love to have as an option in his defence.
The Eagles lack quality depth in the centre-back position following the departures of Gary Cahill and Scott Dann on free transfers over the summer. Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi have started the season as Vieira’s first-choice centre-back pairing, having arrived from Lyon and Chelsea respectively, but there is little in the way of strong competition for their places.
This means that Vieira could love having another quality option in that area of the pitch to challenge Guehi and Andersen and raise the standards in training and in matches. Bringing in a player to compete for a spot in the starting XI could prompt the current starters to up their game, whilst also allowing Vieira to rest and rotate when needed without worrying about the level of his team dropping drastically.
Diop is a proven Premier League performer despite his recent struggles at the London Stadium, and Vieira could enjoy helping him to get back to his best.
Jose Mourinho once hailed the French defender as a ‘monster’ after a 3-1 win for West Ham over Manchester United in 2018. The £22m signing from Toulouse impressed the Portuguese boss, who said: “Congratulations to the scout who found Diop, a monster who dictated everything.”
In the Frenchman’s first season in the Premier League with West Ham, he averaged an impressive WhoScored rating of 6.89 in 33 starts. He won 2.3 aerial battles, 2.1 tackles and 1.9 interceptions and made 4.7 clearances and 1.1 blocks per game, showing how active he was defensively. This shows that he does have the potential to perform in the top flight and could add quality in depth for Palace if he can get back to his best, with Diop struggling for starts (15) at West Ham last season.
Therefore, Parish must secure a deal to bring him in on loan and give Vieira the chance to work with him on the training pitch to help him fulfill his potential at centre-back. It is relatively risk-free as it would only be a temporary switch, which means that it is also not the end of the world if Diop is unable to get back to his previous levels. Indeed, the worst-case scenario is that Palace have another option at centre-back who can push the starters for their places.