West Ham United should urge Issa Diop to accept a loan exit in the January transfer window after falling out of favour under David Moyes.
According to Sky Sports (Transfer centre, 19/1, 18:46), up to three Premier League sides are keen to sign Diop in a temporary deal during the mid-season market.
The centre-half was an unused substitute for the Hammers in their 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night, marking the 12th occasion that Diop has failed to feature when selected in a Premier League matchday squad this season.
Moyes has previously insisted that Diop will not be leaving the London Stadium this month, but doubt is said to linger over the defender’s immediate future in claret and blue.
Diop has been linked with a potential move to West Brom and Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice during the January transfer window, having played only 117 minutes of top-flight action since recovering from coronavirus in October.
He was also omitted from the matchday squad as West Ham beat non-league Stockport County in the FA Cup earlier this month, and will be hoping to earn what has become a rare start when the Irons host League One high-flyers Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
Despite his recent public statement on Diop’s future, Moyes will be well aware to the fact that he can live without the £18m-rated defender over the remainder of the season should West Ham accept an approach this month.
Craig Dawson had to wait until December to make his West Ham debut after joining the Hammers on loan from Watford in the previous transfer window, but has settled in beside Angelo Ogbonna as if he has played with the Italian for years.
West Ham kept four-straight clean sheets with a partnership of Dawson and Ogbonna protecting Lukasz Fabianski’s net, with West Brom’s equaliser in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win the first goal Moyes’ side had conceded in 411 minutes across all competitions.
Moyes also has Fabian Balbuena and Aaron Cresswell, though currently playing at left-back, to provide cover for Dawson and Ogbonna, and recently welcomed promising Danish talent Frederik Alves to the London Stadium on a three-and-a-half year contract.
Hammers icon Frank McAvennie had been bowled over by Balbuena’s form earlier in the campaign, when the Paraguayan was the one partnering Cresswell and Ogbonna at the back, too.
“I have always liked him,” he told Football Insider. “I have known about him for a while and I knew how well the boy could play. On the top of his game, he is probably one of our best defenders.”
Diop struggled to displace Balbuena and now has Dawson ahead of him in the pecking order, making a half-season loan exit a near-must eventuality this month so that the £67,000-per-week brute can rediscover the form that saw West Ham value him at £80m in 2019.
West Ham would not need to worry about strengthening a direct rival for a potential European spot should Diop join a West Brom, either, as the Baggies are engulfed in a relegation battle thanks to the Premier League’s leakiest defence. The Hawthorns natives have allowed more goals (43 in 19 games) than any other side so far this season.