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Newcastle United plot last-gasp move for West Ham’s Issa Diop

Newcastle United are plotting a last-gasp move for West Ham United defender Issa Diop on transfer deadline day, with a first bid already being made.

What’s the story?

The Magpies look set to make a number of new signings on the final day of the January transfer window, with Dan Burn and Matt Targett among those being touted with nearing a switch to Tyneside.

But now, journalist Ryan Taylor has revealed that Eddie Howe’s side have got their sights set on Diop, and that their first offer has been made for the Frenchman, although it is expected to be rejected.

Would Issa Diop be a good signing for Newcastle?

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Writing on Twitter, he said: “#NUFC have also tabled first offer for Issa Diop, expected to be rejected.”

Howe needs him

With a whopping 43 goals conceded in the Premier League this season – the second-worst defensive record in the entire division behind only fellow relegation battlers Norwich – it’s no surprise that Howe has identified the centre of defence as one of the big areas to strengthen this month.

While Burn’s arrival from Brighton would go a decent way to addressing that, the man-mountain defender has predominantly played as a full-back for the Seagulls, so it’s really Diop’s potential arrival that would make the biggest marked difference for Howe.

Despite his young age, the Frenchman has built up considerable experience in the Premier League, playing 91 times in the competition since arriving at the London Stadium.

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Standing at a towering 6 foot 4, Diop has reserved his best performances this season for West Ham in the Europa League, where his average match rating of 7.16 is actually good enough to rank him in the top 40 players in the entire competition as per Whoscored.

Still only 25, the defender has a habit of turning up in the big games, something Howe will love, with former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho raving about him a few years ago.

Speaking after watching him overpower United, he said: “(He had a) fantastic match. Congratulations to the scout that found a 21-year-old kid Diop – a monster who dominated in the duels.”

 

Diop then enjoyed another superb outing against United, this time more recently in the Carabao Cup victory over the Old Trafford side earlier this season, with coach Stuart Pearce raving: “But I thought Diop was absolutely magnificent. The longer the game went on the more of a colossus he looked at the back and he’s still in relative terms, a very young man for a central defender so we’re absolutely delighted to have Issa at this club.”

The £16m-rated star is exactly what Howe needs to strengthen the centre of his defence at St James’ Park.

Meanwhile, David Ornstein has dropped an exciting transfer update on Newcastle United live on Sky Sports…

Article title: Newcastle United plot last-gasp move for West Ham’s Issa Diop

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