Newcastle United have seen their efforts to sign West Ham United defender Issa Diop shut down, with the Frenchman now set to remain at the London Stadium.
Reports earlier on transfer deadline day had suggested that the Magpies had put in a first bid for the centre-back, but it now appears that any January deal is dead in the water.
According to RMC Sport (via Sport Witness), that offer from Eddie Howe’s side’s for the defender has been flatly rejected, and they have been told that the Irons will not be entertaining any more offers for the 25-year-old as they simply don’t want to sell him in the January transfer window.
While the signings of Bruno Guimaraes and Hugo Ekitike (if it gets confirmed later) are likely to be the most eye-catching for Newcastle fans given the prices involved, it’s the signing of someone like Diop which would have really reassured Howe heading into the second half of the Premier League season.
Defence has been a key area of concern for the Magpies with a total of 43 goals conceded already, and bringing in someone who is still relatively young at 25 but with ample Premier League experience to his name in Diop would have been the perfect antidote for that.
Indeed, while the Tyneside club press on with the signings of a striker in Ekitike, and have even been linked with a money-spinning move for a winger in Atletico Madrid’s Yannick Carrasco, it’s Diop who they really needed.
Speaking earlier this month when reports emerged linking the Magpies to another defender in AS Monaco’s Benoit Badiashille, Noel Whelan said: “Going back to that Watford game, what they’re desperately in need of is centre-halves and Badiashile could fit the bill. They’re making far too many mistakes. The marking is all over the place, there’s no concentration – even in the last minute of the game.
“They’ve got to look at these crucial minutes and think about how many points they’ve dropped just through bad defending. Centre half has got to be the priority for Newcastle, fixing the spine of that team.
“It’s all very well serving Chris Wood with these wing-backs, but he will have to score three or four goals every game for Newcastle to have a chance of picking up three points.”
As Whelan says, while it’s all well and good that the Magpies might have signed a new striker in Wood – and now potentially another one in Ekitike – it will all be for nothing if they don’t bring in reinforcements at the other end of the pitch.
Newcastle need to become much more stronger at the back, and Diop’s arrival would certainly have helped in that regard.
It’s why Howe will surely be gutted at the news that the West Ham defender will now be staying put, and another setback for a Magpies side who have been desperately searching to sign a new centre-back all month with so many names being linked.