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16th Jun 2019

Manchester United willing to offer £45m for West Ham’s Issa Diop

Patrick McCarry

This was a player Jose Mourinho raved about last season

The footballing world is keenly aware of Manchester United’s desperation to strengthen the centre of their defence. This could be the reason why Issa Diop may be about to make West Ham a packet.

The French defender was signed by The Hammers for a club record of £22m in June 2018. He went on to play 38 games, score two goals and confirm that he wants to play senior international football for Les Bleus.

Diop, who turned 22 in January, came in for a rave review from then-United boss Jose Mourinho last season, after West Ham had beaten his side 3-1. Mourinho declared: “The centre-backs had a fantastic match. Congratulations to the scout who found the 21-year-old kid, Diop. He was a monster and dominated every single duel.”

Since that September day, Diop was on United’s players of interest list. Mourinho had the former Toulouse player scouted a couple of times before he left the club in December.

United are said to be keen on Napoli’s imposing Kalidou Koulibaily while several reports have linked the club to Leicester City and England star Harry Maguire.

Koulibaly could cost as much as £90m while Leicester improved Maguire’s contract last summer and would want in the region of £80m should the player express his will to leave.

United currently have four senior centre-backs – Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Eric Lindelof and Phil Jones – but all have flattered to deceive at different stages of their Old Trafford careers. Lindelof finished last season well while Smalling and Jones have recently signed new deals.

United’s interest in Diop was reported by Sky Sports, with a report claiming the club would be willing to pay up to £45m to prise the defender away from West Ham. Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol commented “Diop has been on United’s radar for quite a while… He’s a player United know very, very well.

“Interestingly, he is a player that fits United’s profile this summer. We know they are looking to sign younger hungrier players. They have already signed Daniel James from Swansea City. They’re in talks to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace as well.”

Mourinho can claim this one if Diop turns out to be a decent purchase, and player, for his former club.