Why A Short-Term Loan Spell Might Work For West Ham’s Issa Diop?

Issa Diop, West Ham. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Issa Diop, West Ham. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

For someone with unquestioned potential, it is as equally surprising as it is saddening to see Issa Diop slip down the West Ham defensive ranks.

After being stuck behind Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna, the talented French youngster saw his chances of first-team football diminish after some impressive outings from on-loan defender – Craig Dawson. Perhaps, with Issa Diop‘s value lowering, the Hammers need to act now and loan the youngster.

Diop, who signed from Toulouse in 2018 for just under £25 million, found form in his early West Ham career – but has been given fewer opportunities by Moyes this season.`In his time in East London, Diop has made 69 appearances. He became the first West Ham player to score an own goal on his debut against Arsenal back in 2018. A real “I wish that wasn’t me” sort of stat.

Last year, Diop made 31 starts under both Moyes and Pellegrini. This year, however, the youthful centre-back has made just five appearances – most of those coming at the start of the season.

Although Diop started the season central to Moyes’s defensive plans, this changed when he tested positive for coronavirus alongside his manager and Josh Cullen.

"“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.”David Moyes, Evening Standard"

After, Balbuena’s promotion to the side, Diop has been unable to find his way back into the starting eleven after numerous solid defensive displays from those replacing him.

Fabian Balbuena, West Ham.
Fabian Balbuena, West Ham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Now, with Craig Dawson’s performances against Southampton and Everton, Diop now finds himself the fourth-choice centre-back.

It is worth remembering that Diop is just 23 years old; he is a centre-back learning his trade. His competition is not. Balbuena (29), Ogbonna (32) and Dawson (30) are all experienced heads – something Moyes clearly values.

Clearly, Diop won’t improve with solely cup outings against lower league opposition. With all due respect, Stockport County away is not going to make or break Issa Diop as the player he could or will end up being.

The longer Diop warms the bench the quicker his value will fall. If the youngster isn’t getting game time at the London Stadium, then, surely, he needs to be loaned.

Issa Diop, West Ham.
Issa Diop, West Ham. (Photo by IAN WALTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Whilst, The Evening Standard has reported Moyes’ reluctance to move the talented defender on, Diop’s lack of game time has alerted clubs across the globe.

It is well known that Jose Mourinho has been a huge admirer for Diop and Spurs could test the stretched finances at West Ham with a bid over January.

"“Congratulations to the scout who found the 21-year-old kid, Diop. He was a monster and dominated every single duel.”Jose Mourinho, SportsJoe."

But even though a permanent move looks unlikely, as West Ham see Diop as a long-term investment, the youngster could still move on for more first-team opportunities in January.  According to the Sun, both Nice and West Brom have shown an interest in taking Diop on loan.

Next. West Ham Star Expected To Make Quick Return. dark

Certainly, Diop’s role at West Ham will mean that he is likely to be in demand over this window. A short-term loan could be ideal, as for all his promise, Diop now needs regular football if he is to reach high levels many predict.