Premier League newbies Fulham are reportedly close to signing West Ham centre-back Issa Diop in a £15m deal.
The Cottagers, who completed the signing of Shane Duffy on a season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion last week, have been locked in negotiations with West Ham for over a month. West Ham had been unwilling to let Issa Diop leave after their new signing, Nayef Aguerd, was sidelined for up to three months following ankle surgery.
However, according to The Guardian, Issa Diop asked David Moyes to not involve him during the Hammers’ opening weekend 2-0 defeat to champions Manchester City in order to force through a move to Fulham.
Issa Diop, 25, joined West Ham from Toulouse for £22m in 2018 and instantly became a regular member of their backline. After two solid seasons at the London Stadium, the former France Under-21 international lost his place in the side under David Moyes.
With the 25-year-old no longer a regular starter at the club, he wants to move on from the London Stadium this summer and join Fulham to resurrect his career.
Issa Diop to Fulham—A solid acquisition for Marco Silva?
Fulham boss Marco Silva lamented his side’s lack of defensive cover going into the new Premier League campaign last week. Indeed, Tosin Adarabioyo and Tim Ream were the only senior centre-backs available at Silva’s disposal throughout the pre-season.
The defensive pair of Adarabioyo and Ream did start the club’s opener against Liverpool, with on-loan Shane Duffy coming on late in the credible 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage on Saturday. For a new Premier League entrant whose first priority will be to secure safety, it is clear to see why Silva is desperate for more defensive additions.
A deal to sign Issa Diop, in that regard, looks good. Diop has enough experience in the Premier League to potentially settle down quickly at Fulham in the ongoing summer transfer window, having been a decent performer for West Ham so far.
The 25-year-old is a strong, no-nonsense defender whose physical attributes will help add some much-needed robustness to the Cottagers’ backline. Standing at 6ft 4ins tall, the ex-Toulouse man can also be a dangerous proposition from set-pieces, while his ability to operate in a five-man backline will appeal to Silva.
Fulham’s idea is to bring in Issa Diop to improve the squad and provide sufficient cover for Ream and Adarabioyo. The Frenchman has the skill-set required to become a key member of Silva’s setup. Thus, at an overall package of £15m, a deal for Diop potentially represents great business for the Cottagers.