West Ham beef up, get younger, and add mobility to their centre back core all with the arrival of new signee Issa Diop. Diop, an U21 player for France, has impressed in his young career at Toulouse and is a welcomed addition to West Ham’s defence.
Last season for Toulouse in France’s top flight of football Diop played in 34 matches in Ligue 1, scoring 3 goals and adding 1 assist. Maybe most importantly in the minds of West Ham supporters, Diop didn’t miss any matches due to injury last season, and of his 34 appearances he was a started in every single one.
West Ham are currently in the midst of a Pellegrini overhaul of the team, and he has made the team defence a focal point. Adding Diop to the defence alongside Ryan Fredericks who joined on a free contract following his terrific season at Fulham, Pellegrini is going for a youthful and rapid defence core.
It doesn’t appear that Pellegrini is done yet either, as West Ham have been linked with Alfie Mawson from Swansea city, a young centre defender, and left back Jordan Lukaku, Romelu’s brother, who has the elite speed to match Fredericks on the right side. The addition of new signees means there will likely be some casualties for West Ham players to make room.
It has been reported that Winston Reid could be sold to make room and some cash back for the new players coming in. The centre back has been linked to moves in the Premier League and in the Super Lig in Turkey. As well, West Ham are apparently listening to Aaron Cresswell, left back, while not actively looking to sell him.
The one positive in this scenario is the move that Declan Rice will likely make from centre back to defensive midfield. The Irish international has played this position regularly for his senior international squad and Pellegrini is apparently keen to have his vision, speed, and tackling ability patrol the midfield in a role etched out to protect the back line.
The Pellegrini backline should offer more of a pacy, athletic build that years prior, seeing as he and his director of football, Mario Husillos, have full autonomy in the transfers department and an increased budget from his predecessors. Diop promises to be an impressive youngster who can boast a full season of senior playing time. He will walk into West Ham’s back line and looks to be a promising player for the Hammers.