The transfer season is upon us and for Manchester United, it is starting to feel like their biggest summer in some time.
A poor end to the season which saw them lose eight of their final 12 games will likely see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under immense pressure right from the get-go at the start of next season, so making the right signings this summer could be crucial for the Norwegian.
But according to Sky Sports, United are interested in West Ham defender Issa Diop, who despite only playing in the Premier League for a single season has caught the attention of the Red Devils.
United are in need of a big shake-up in defence after conceding 54 Premier League goals last season, the second-worst return in the top half. But here are two reasons why the club shouldn’t even be thinking about a move for Diop, who could prove to be one of their biggest mistakes of the summer if a deal gets over the line…
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Diop has impressed in his first season at West Ham having played all but five Premier League games for Manuel Pellegrini’s side and averaged 1.9 interceptions and 2.1 tackles per game along the way, the second and fifth highest returns in the squad respectively.
But there has been nothing to suggest he can really take United to the next level. He’s never played in European competitions before, is still yet to be capped by the French national team and despite United’s defensive woes last season, Diop was part of a backline that conceded one goal more in the Premier League.
The Red Devils need someone proven and experienced to bring composure and organisation to the heart of defence, but Diop is a mere 22-year-old. Despite a decent debut season, it’s not clear he’s actually an upgrade on Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly or Victor Lindelof – so why take a punt on him?
The fans in the video below had some very strong words for Michel Platini who was detained over alleged corruption this week…
West Ham clearly know they’re in the driving seat here with The Telegraph reporting that they’re valuing Diop at an incredibly audacious £75m – the same fee Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk 18 months ago.
Few would argue that investment hasn’t worked out after the Dutchman helped clinch the Champions League title for Liverpool, but van Dijk arrived at Anfield with Champions League, international and considerable Premier League experience under his belt and through his combination of impeccable defending, physicality and quality in possession, already looked like a top-end centre-half.
Diop just isn’t in the same category at this moment in time; one season in the Premier League certainly isn’t enough to go on when judging whether he deserves such a lofty fee. And to put into perspective how ridiculous that fee is, West Ham paid less than a third of that to sign him a year ago, while Harry Maguire – an England international with more than 100 Premier League outings under his belt – is about to move to Manchester City for just £65m.
If United are prepared to meet West Ham’s valuation of Diop, clearly something has gone incredibly wrong in their transfer department.