Atletico Madrid have become the latest suitor for West Ham defender Issa Diop, amid links with bigger Premier League clubs.
The centre-back has impressed for the Hammers since joining from Toulouse in summer 2018, putting him in contention for a call-up to the senior France national team – although he is still awaiting his debut.
His form over the past two seasons has also seen his value skyrocket, due to interest from clubs like Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
All three clubs could be in the market for new defenders in the summer, with Tottenham bracing themselves for the potential departure of veteran Jan Vertonghen, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
Man Utd are still searching for the perfect partner for Harry Maguire, while Arsenal’s defensive woes remain a problem, even if things have slightly improved under Mikel Arteta.
Diop has been suggested as a target for all three clubs, given his potential to improve even further at the age of 23 – although his price tag of £60m would make him an expensive investment.
And that is not the only problem, as AS report that Atletico Madrid are now interested in poaching Diop. Their defence has not been quite the same since the exit of Diego Godin – a player who could be on the move again soon, possibly to the Premier League – last summer, with 30-year-old Felipe not particularly convincing, meaning Diego Simeone would rather look to the future.
He is attracted by Diop’s strength, reading of the game and ability in the air, making him a top target for the Rojiblancos.
Diop has repeatedly affirmed his happiness to stay at West Ham, however, so the Spanish giants may have to work hard to convince him.
“West Ham, for me, it was not and is still not a springboard to go elsewhere,” he told France Football back in August – although their lowly 16th position in the league this season may have changed his mind.
“It’s the club where I want to try to become the best defender I can be, compared to my qualities.
“Whether technical, tactical, physical, I still have a large margin of progression.”