Issa Diop on Manchester United, Chelsea Rumours: 'I Don't Have a Career Plan'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Issa Diop of West Ham United looks on during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Crystal Palace at London Stadium on October 5, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

West Ham United defender Issa Diop has said he has doesn't have a defined "career plan" amid speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea or Manchester United

The centre-back arrived at West Ham in the summer of 2018 and made an impressive start to life with the London club, quickly cementing his place as the team's best defender.

Unsurprisingly, rumours of interest from elite clubs have started to surface. When asked about the reports by France Football (h/t James Westwood of Goal), Diop made it clear he's taking things slowly at this stage in his career:

"As a footballer, we know that we are subject to a lot of rumours, which is more during the transfer window. After that, I focus on my football, trying to progress everyday training and being good at matches. That's all. I don't have a career plan. I just want to be the best player I can be.

"I live a little day by day. What has to happen will happen. And if it doesn't happen ... I just want to be efficient, that's all."

According to Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News, Tottenham Hotspur also want to sign the defender, although West Ham are said to value him in the region of £50 million:

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In the summer, it was reported that United were ready to test West Ham's resolve to keep Diop, although they eventually spent big on the acquisition of Harry Maguire from Leicester City.

This month, the Blues have also been noted as an interested party, with Chelsea said to be ready to part with £40 million to secure his signature.

Given he's still just 23 years old and only moved clubs at the start of the previous season, it's not a surprise that Diop doesn't seem to be in any major rush to move clubs. In his debut term, he was crucial to any victories the team did enjoy, as evidenced by the following figures:

The second season has been more of a struggle for the Frenchman, with West Ham toiling in the Premier League. Defensively they have lacked consistency, while in central midfield there is little protection provided to the back four by the likes of Mark Noble and Declan Rice.

In the right kind of setup, Diop has shown himself to be a capable centre-back though. And while he may not be pushing for a move yet, if he does eventually join a high-profile outfit, his dynamism off the ball and smart use on it would see him fit in well.

West Ham will need to improve their position in the Premier League if they are to keep players like Diop. They are 16th in the table, just one point clear of the relegation zone.