West Ham opinion: Should Pellegrini replace Diop with Malang Sarr?
While Diop only arrived last summer, the 21-year old’s performances combined with the fact that Manchester United are desperately chasing after him has seen his stock rise considerably.
But since Diop only just arrived at West Ham, along with a four-year deal to match, the Hammers are not under any pressure. With a £75m fee being quoted, there are few sides in the world that would let an opportunity like that slip through their hands.
However, given the way the young Frenchman played this season, the Hammers will need someone to replace him. Arguably one of the most underrated centre-backs in the Premier League, Diop had a fantastic first season in the Premier League.
He averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, 4.7 clearances and a rather stunning passing accuracy of 86% per game. It’s a sensational average for someone who was in his very first season in the physical and punishing Premier League.
Replacing him will be exceptionally tough but if Manchester United even come close to West Ham’s valuation, the Hammers will be able to change their team.
It’s why a move for Malang Sarr makes so much sense. He made his debut as a young 17-year-old for OGC Nice and not only scored the winning goal but also kept a clean sheet.
A left-footed centre-back, the 20-year old’s standout defensive ability is his ability to read a game. That is borne out of the fact that Sarr leads the charts for interceptions, with only Yousef Atal on par with him.
It’s an impressive ability and one that the young defender has always had in his locker. He has a passing average of just 0.2 digits under 90% and played 35 out of 38 games last season. Sarr is also capable of playing left-back.
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West Ham cannot lose someone as talented and important as Issa Diop and not replace him effectively given the transfer fee that they are asking for. It’s where someone like Malang Sarr can enter and help the Hammers move on from the 20-year-old former Toulouse star.