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Report: Newcastle could ramp up efforts to sign 25-year-old West Ham defender

Newcastle could make an offer for Issa Diop in the closing days of the January Transfer window, according to L’equipe.

The Magpies are on the hunt for defensive reinforcements as they bid to avoid relegation to the Championship. They were reportedly interested in signing Lille’s Sven Botman and Monaco’s Benoît Badiashile this month, though they are now thought to have ramped up their efforts to sign the Hammer’s centre-half.

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Diop cost the Hammers £22m from Toulouse ahead of the 2018/19 campaign and was one of Manuel Pellegrini’s marquee summer signings.

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The Frenchman endured a successful season during his first outing in England. He was West Ham’s most consistent centre-half, registering 33 appearances playing alongside either Angelo Ogbonna or Fabian Balbuena, and scoring one goal.

The 25-year-old drew plaudits from pundits and coaches alike. Jose Mourinho was particularly complimentary of the defender. After suffering a 3-1 defeat while in charge of Manchester United he said: “Congratulations to the scout that found a 21-year-old kid Diop – a monster who dominated in the duels” [Evening Standard]

However, the 25-year-old has suffered with inconsistent form since. Falling down the pecking order at the London Stadium as a result. He has enjoyed success as a key player in West Ham’s Europa League and domestic cup line-ups so far. Though he is now behind Kurt Zouma and Ogbonna in Moyes’ Premier League XI.

The Hammers lost both Zouma and Ogbonna to injury over the festive period. This gave Diop the opportunity to re-establish himself as a first-team regular in the league. But West Ham only managed two clean sheets in eight games with him in defence, both of which were against sides fighting relegation.

Will West Ham sanction a move?

It is unlikely that West Ham would sell Diop in January. Especially while they are also keen to add another centre-half to their books.

Newcastle’s current Premier League position of 18th could also hinder Diop’s decision to move. And many Premier League clubs are hesitant to do business with the Tyneside club due to the nature of their takeover [L’equipe].

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