Football News

‘West Ham are not a springboard’ – Diop breaks silence over Man Utd links

By Ben Green

Published: 17:42, 14 August 2019

Issa Diop has rejected claims he is using West Ham United as a “springboard” for a move to a bigger club.

The Frenchman excelled during his inaugural campaign in east London, encouraging interest from Manchester United prior to their record-acquisition of Harry Maguire.

Diop’s Man Utd rumours: Five things to know…

  • Diop flourished during his debut season at West Ham.
  • He drew widespread praise, Jose with Mourinho famously branding him a “monster”.
  • Man Utd were searching for a new centre-back and were linked with Diop.
  • But it’s believed West Ham wanted £45m plus a player in exchange for Diop.
  • Man Utd ultimately signed Maguire and Diop has expressed a desire to reach the top with West Ham.

Diop joined the Hammers from Toulouse last summer and quickly established himself as a leading centre-back in the Premier League, featuring 38 times across all competitions.

As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ramped up his search for a new centre-back during the summer window, Diop was touted with a possible switch to Old Trafford but the Norwegian went all-out to secure Maguire instead.

However, that won’t dampen rumours of an exit as the 22-year-old continues to play a prominent role in Manuel Pellegrini’s starting XI, but he has now denied suggestions he is simply using the Hammers as a stepping stone.

He told France Football: “West Ham, for me, it was not and is still not a springboard to go elsewhere.

“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.”

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Diop eyes France call-up

Diop has accumulated 40 caps at youth level for Les Bleus but he is now relishing the opportunity to catch the eye of senior head coach, Didier Deschamps.

The World Cup-winning manager has a plethora of defensive talent at his disposal, with players like Aymeric Laporte yet to be capped at senior level, but Diop is aiming to give his all in order to force his way into the international fold.

He added:“It is the performance that I will make in the match that will determine if I have the level to play with Les Bleus.

“It’s up to me to work. That’s how I see things.

“All very good players go into the national team. Well, if I am very good, it will come if it should come. Obviously, it’s a goal, but the proof that I deserve to reach it, it’s me who must give it.”