Issa Diop has now handed David Moyes a massive selection headache at West Ham.
The 24-year-old centre-back has long struggled with consistency at the London Stadium since his then club-record £22m move from Toulouse in June 2018.
Last campaign, he was largely third-choice behind Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson, having played only 18 times in the Premier League, of which just 15 were starts, via Transfermarkt.
His position in the pecking order will have undoubtedly been hampered by the arrival of his fellow Frenchman, Kurt Zouma, this summer and whilst he’s yet to feature in the top-flight this term, he has delivered with solid performances in both the Europa League last week and the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
It now leaves the Irons boss with plenty to ponder as Diop’s form simply cannot be ignored.
He was colossal in Croatia against reigning champions Dinamo Zagreb despite a serious lack of game time, as outlined by Football FanCast previously, and then at Old Trafford, he was a key cog in keeping United’s frontline quiet all night.
Just days after late heartbreak against the Red Devils in the Premier League, Moyes rotated his squad for the third-round clash and it paid off, with the 6 foot 4 titan putting in another defensive masterclass.
As per SofaScore, Diop was graded as the Hammers’ highest-rated outfield player (7.7) as he recorded a whopping seven clearances, three interceptions, two tackles and one block, whilst he also won 100% of his duels, both on the ground and in the air.
What a display.
He was an absolute rock against the likes of Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho and last season’s loan hero Jesse Lingard – even when Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood entered the pitch, it didn’t faze the £18m-rated beast.
Diop earned the praise of assistant manager Stuart Pearce, who told reporters (via The Athletic):
“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.”
It comes three years after former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho dubbed the West Ham star a “monster” for another standout performance at the back.
Moyes now must think about what is best for this Hammers side. You cannot ignore the recent outings from Diop and the potential partnership of the two Frenchman in the heart of their defence must be a rather tempting prospect right now.
Diop must remain when the Irons head to Leeds on Saturday.