Issa Diop has gained all the plaudits. Even José Mourinho has praised the young defender. But now, according to the Daily Express, it’s Frank Lampard and Chelsea that have their eyes set on Diop.
“Congratulations to the scout that found a 21-year-old kid Diop – a monster who dominated in the duels.”Mourinho praising Diop in United’s game against West Ham
The Frenchman has been an excellent signing for West Ham since his arrival in 2018. Highly regarded in his native France when with Toulouse, he’s settled into the Premier League well. So much so, Spurs were reportedly interested in signing him. Sky Sports reported that the Special One wanted Diop in January, but Chelsea already seem to have beat the Portuguese manager to it. A £40m bid. The Hammers want £50 million though, a hefty fee even for an exciting prospect like Diop.
So can a substantial fee for the central defender be justified? We’ll give you a run down on his qualities:
Issa Diop – Style of Play
Diop is gifted physically for a footballer, let alone a defender. 6ft 4 inches in height, great athleticism and an excellent turn of pace. His height enables him to win headers in his own box with ease, whilst also being a large aerial threat in the opposition’s box. The video shows him being able to hold up the ball well too, using his strength to his advantage. If you wanted a template for how a defender should be the built, the French U21 international wouldn’t be far off perfect.
Technically too, the former Toulouse defender is very comfortable on the ball. As shown in the video, he runs out of defence with ease on multiple occasions, almost gliding past the opposition like a winger. Coupled with his confidence and ability to dribble, Diop can pass well too. 82.8% pass accuracy isn’t bad at all for a Premier League defender. The number of long balls he hits perfectly to switch play in the video epitomises the modern day defender.
Defensively though, I think he needs to improve. Though on most occasions, his tackles tend to be timed well, sometimes when I’ve watched him, the 22 year old is prone to making mistakes and being a bit rash. Under Lampard, I’d like to think he would develop discipline and read the game better. He has the talent and qualities, it’s just a question of consistency and reading the game well. If he gets that right, Issa Diop could be world class.
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