David Moyes is to show West Ham United’s full force in the transfer market by objecting to interest from Liverpool in defender Issa Diop.
Diop has emerged as a mid-season target for Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League title-holders, with ExWHUemployee claiming the Reds are ready to pounce on the centre-back’s fall from grace at the London Stadium.
The 23-year-old has played just 27 Premier League minutes since testing positive for coronavirus in September, despite being a firm favourite of Moyes’ plans last term with starting roles in 17 of the Scottish coach’s 19 top-flight matches at the helm.
Diop was omitted from West Ham’s last matchday squad for Watford loanee Craig Dawson, though ExWHUemployee insists the decision was purely tactical with there being no signs of a rift emerging between the defender and manager.
Moyes has doubled down on his commitment to Diop, stating ahead of Wednesday’s London Derby clash with Crystal Palace that the £22.5m-rated centre-half will be going nowhere in the upcoming January window.
“I’ve got no intention in letting any players go. Issa’s one of the players we really like,” said Moyes, via quotes by the Evening Standard
“He started in the team, he picked up the virus at the same time as I did. Fabian Balbuena has come in and played very well, you know that’s what happens in football. But we’ve got no intention whatsoever letting Issa go. None.”
Liverpool may have seen Diop’s decline in Moyes’ pecking order as the perfect opportunity to sign the defender and solve their own issues, with Virgil van Dijk still a “very long” way away from making his return from a knee injury.
Diop’s limited game time this season would have seen West Ham struggle to request any fee near to the £75million they demanded last year amid interest from Manchester United, at a time FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain were also thought to be keen.
Joel Matip is also a doubt for Klopp, after the Cameron international joined Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara in the physio’s room after suffering from back spasms, only strengthening Liverpool’s need for options.
But Moyes will show West Ham’s full force in the transfer market by retaining Diop against any interest from Liverpool, proving the London Stadium natives are able to fight off approaches from the best even when the Hammers may appear to be in a weaker position.
Diop remaining in claret and blue for the remainder of the season, at least, will also allow the Irons a chance to see the former Arsenal target rediscover his lost form and drive his market value back up ahead of the summer window when his situation can be reassessed.
It was amid interest from the Gunners that Moyes first spoke of his hope at working with Diop for a few more years, at least, and that clearly remains the case even if the former U21 international is yet to fulfil the potential the Scot saw in him.
“If you ask me, he still has development to do as a young centre-half, he has a long way to go. But I am looking forward to working with him over the next couple of years,” the Irons boss said in January, via quotes by football.london.