David Moyes must consider a drastic U-turn on Issa Diop’s situation amid reports OGC Nice could show an interest in the West Ham United outcast during the January transfer window.
According to the print version L’Equipe (2/1, p. 6), Diop is one of a number of central defensive options under consideration at the Allianz Riviera as manager Adrian Ursea lines up winter reinforcements.
Ursea has won just one of his five Ligue 1 fixtures since stepping up to replace Patrick Vieira at the helm last month, in which the 53-year-old has seen Les Aiglons concede seven goals including six in their last two games.
Nice are seemingly eager to acquire a new centre-half as a priority, with a string of names being linked including FC Barcelona duo Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo plus Diop and Arsenal’s William Saliba.
Diop is not currently seen as Ursea’s top-target, while some options have been proposed to the Allianz Riviera natives and others have been assessed by the French outfit’s scouting department.
Moyes has stated that he is not planning on allowing Diop to leave the London Stadium this winter amid speculative interest from Liverpool, while West Bromwich Albion have also been touted (The Sun, 20/12, p. 65), but has rarely favoured the £18m-rated enforcer since he recovered from coronavirus.
Diop has started just one of two appearances in West Ham’s last 15 Premier League games, having been shunned to the bench in favour of Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna, Fabian Balbuena and more recently, Craig Dawson.
With more suitors seemingly lining up at Diop’s door looking to acquire the defender West Ham valued as high as £80m in 2019 amid interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, Moyes is facing an urgent need to make a U-turn on his view of the 23-year-old.
Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain also once watched Diop with a view to signing the former France U21 international Jose Mourinho previously called a “monster”, having seen the Toulouse-born enforcer dominate Paul Pogba during his tenure at Old Trafford.
Now, Diop is in the shadows at the London Stadium barely getting a look in, and Moyes must decide whether he has a future at the club or if he wants to cash-in now and put the funds toward strengthening his squad after a solid start to the season.
Diop’s value will only decline further if he continues to live life on the fringes on a £67,000-per-week contract that runs until 2023, and finding a suitor willing to meet his demands will only become increasingly complicated.