Issa Diop Dismisses Talk of Potential Move from West Ham to Manchester United

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2018

West Ham's Issa Diop, right, challenges Manchester United's Ashley Young, left, during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Manchester United at London Stadium in London in London, England, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Tim Ireland/Associated Press

West Ham United defender Issa Diop has said he is focused on his career in the capital, despite reported interest from Manchester United

Speaking to Foot Mercato (h/t Metro), Diop explained he is concentrated on his development under Hammers coach Manuel Pellegrini after Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho publicly praised the centre-back.

When asked if he was flattered by Mourinho's compliments of him, Diop said: "Yes, of course it's nice. But my coach is Manuel Pellegrini (laughs). So it's his opinion that interests me the most. He advises me to continue to progress."

When asked if the prospect of a move to Old Trafford was on his agenda, Diop replied: "Not at all. I'm at West Ham right now. I take the most pleasure from this. I try to give the best possible performance."

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Issa Diop of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and West Ham United at John Smith's Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by William Early/Getty Ima
William Early/Getty Images

Mourinho passed comment on Diop after the player excelled during West Ham's 3-1 home victory over United in the Premier League in September.

Per Metro, Mourinho described Diop as "a monster who dominated in the duels," as his side were soundly beaten in east London.

At 21, Diop is a fine prospect, and the summer signing from Toulouse has made 10 starts in the Premier League this term. The Hammers are in mid-table but sit just four points above the relegation zone.

United's problems continue at centre-back, with Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof paired as Manchester City deconstructed their neighbours at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Alvaro Morata of Chelsea, Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling of Manchester United compete for the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on February 25, 2018 in Manche
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The English champions won 3-1, and United's defensive action was once again left wanting against a hungry attack.

Mourinho will now experience the most important few weeks of his tenure at the Theatre of Dreams, and results must dramatically improve.

The Red Devils will have the opportunity to buy a new centre-back in January, but the winter window is a notoriously difficult period to recruit world-class players.

Mourinho needs a defender from the highest echelons, and if he doesn't plug the holes that have seen United concede 21 goals in 12 Premier League games, his spell in Manchester could be abruptly cut short by the owners and board.