West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is excited by the arrival of Toulouse defender Issa Diop, claiming his “pace and power” will suit the Premier League to a tee, in quotes via Sky Sports. But could his arrival also bare significance in sparking another quality defender back to life at in east London?
The record acquisition of the 21-year-old at the London Stadium (£21.9 million, Sky Sports), has been intended to revive a faltering back-line for the foreseeable future under the Chilean boss, but his presence could also elevate the performances of former Juventus regular Angelo Ogbonna.
The 30-year-old enjoyed a decent spell under David Moyes and ranked first for clearances made, was joint-top in shots blocked, third in aerial duels and third in pass completion with the Hammers back in February. And next season he will be targeting a key role in the defence, alongside the new boy.
Diop’s “pace and power” will be key for the Hammers’ rearguard next term, and alongside Ogbonna both could really flourish. They both employ a similar style of defending, using their physicality to defend on the front foot, and in theory, an understanding should develop relatively quickly.
If all goes well, and everything clicks between the two, West Ham could have a brilliant defence next term, with Ryan Fredericks and Arthur Masuaku providing the width either side of the two imposing centre-backs.