David Sullivan could threaten West Ham United’s dreams of qualifying for Europe by sanctioning a mid-season deal for Issa Diop to join Liverpool on loan.
According to The Athletic, Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League champions are making last ditch efforts to sign a centre-half on loan or a free transfer to offer a stop-gap solution to the Reds’ injury crisis.
Joel Matip became the Anfield natives’ latest causality after sustaining an ankle issue in Thursday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, while already being without Fabinho due to a muscular problem and Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez through serious knee injuries.
Liverpool are not believed to have the funds available to make a permanent signing before Monday’s deadline, and have thus reached out to potential options including Diop, Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and free agent Neven Subotic.
West Ham are said to be reluctant to sending Diop to Anfield on loan with the Irons and Liverpool not far apart in the Premier League standings, but would consider a deal that featured an obligation to buy the £67,000-per-week titan in the summer.
Diop would command a purchase fee of in excess of £20m after falling to fourth-choice under David Moyes this season, despite being valued as high as £80m amid interest from Arsenal and Manchester United in the summer of 2019.
The centre-half has featured for only 297 minutes in the Premier League this season after losing his place in the side following a positive test for coronavirus, making just one start and one appearance from the bench since September.
West Ham considering a deal that would see Diop leave the London Stadium permanently at the end of the season just goes to show how far the 24-year-old has fallen, having been signed in 2018 for a then club-record fee of £22m and quickly earning praise from the likes of Jose Mourinho.
The Spurs boss lauded Diop for shutting down Paul Pogba whilst the Portuguese tactician was in charge of Manchester United, claiming the centre-half was “a monster who dominated in the duels” following a 3-1 defeat to the Irons.
Diop remained a mainstay of the Hammers line-up last season, starting 31 of his 32 Premier League appearances and scoring three goals, yet is now behind Watford loanee Craig Dawson as well as Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna in Moyes’ pecking order.
But West Ham may quickly regret allowing Diop to move to Merseyside this month, as his exit could directly help a side the Irons are now challenging for a European qualifying berth with two points all that separates them from Liverpool in fourth ahead of Sunday’s meeting.
West Ham will go above Liverpool with a win at the London Stadium this weekend, when Klopp may be forced to name Jordan Henderson alongside an academy defender to have some experience at the back.
It is far from an ideal option for Klopp, with Henderson not attempting any tackles in the role against Tottenham on Thursday, so the Irons must think long and hard over depriving Moyes of centre-back depth to strengthen a side who could deny them a place in Europe next season.
AND in other news, West Ham eye late loan for teen gem who “makes the game look easy”…