Issa Diop: The highly rated centre back coveted by top Premiership sides
Transfer News

Issa Diop: The highly rated centre back coveted by top Premiership sides

Arsenal has been linked with a transfer swoop for the highly rayed West Ham centre back Issa Diop. 

The 24-year-old defender is a subject of a possible bidding war between the Gunners and Manchester United as both Mikel Arteta and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been said to fancy signing him.

West Ham boss David Moyes, on the other hand, is not willing to let go and has expressed his optimism that he will still be with him in the next couple of years.

"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," he said in January.

Diop still has three years to run on his current contract which he penned in the summer of 2018 when he joined for what was then a club-record fee from Toulouse.

Ligue 1 debut

So who is Issa Diop?

He was born in Toulouse and played youth football for Balma SC before moving to Toulouse FC in 2006. He began training with the first team in September 2015, and signed a professional contract in November. He was part of an influx of young players to the squad that included Alban Lafont, Zinédine Machach, Alexis Blin and Yann Bodiger.

He made his Ligue 1 debut, aged 18, on 28 November 2015 against Nice, playing the full game alongside fellow debutant Lafont. He scored his first goal in his second appearance on 2 December 2015, contributing to his club's 3–0 win away to fellow relegation strugglers Troyes.

He made 21 appearances in his first season, helping the club to eight clean sheets. He was sent off twice during a season in which the club only avoided relegation with a win on the final day.

Diop made 30 Ligue 1 appearances in 2016–17 later being named captain of his local club for the first time in April 2017.

London move

He joined London side West Ham United in June 2018 on a five-year contract worth £22 million. He has made 54 appearances for the Hammers scoring four goals.

The centre back has been a youth international for France at every level, making his first appearance for France U16 in 2013. He was part of the team that won the 2016 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, scoring in the final. In addition to winning the tournament itself, Diop was also named in the Team of the Tournament.

He made his debut for France U21 in a qualification game for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, against Ukraine on 2 September 2016.

He is also eligible to play for Morocco through his mother and for Senegal through his father. In October 2018, he confirmed his international commitment to France.