Issa Diop asks to leave West Ham as Fulham near £15m deal for defender

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Fulham are close to completing the £15m signing of the centre-back Issa Diop from West Ham.

The deal to take Diop to Craven Cottage is a major boost for Marco Silva, who has been looking for additions in central defence following his side’s promotion to the Premier League.

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Fulham, who completed the signing of the Republic of Ireland centre-back Shane Duffy on a season‑long loan from Brighton last week, have been locked in negotiations with West Ham for more than a month.

West Ham had been reluctant to let Diop leave after their new signing, Nayef Aguerd, was ruled out for up to three months following ankle surgery. But their hand was forced after Diop, who joined them from Toulouse for £22m in 2018, asked not to be involved when David Moyes’s side opened their campaign with a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City on Sunday.

The Frenchman’s absence meant Kurt Zouma was West Ham’s only available centre-back against City. With Aguerd recovering from surgery, Craig Dawson ruled out with a hamstring injury and Angelo Ogbonna continuing his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury, Moyes had to pair Zouma with the 21‑year‑old full-back Ben Johnson.

West Ham are trying to sign the Paris Saint-Germain defender Thilo Kehrer after being beaten by Everton to the signing of Conor Coady on loan from Wolves. Coady was interested in joining West Ham, but indecision from Moyes allowed Everton to enter the race.

Moyes has now switched his focus to other targets. West Ham are in talks with PSG over Kehrer, but a deal for the 25-year-old German will not come cheap. Sevilla are also interested in Kehrer.

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Diop decided he wanted to leave West Ham after being told he would be their fifth‑choice centre‑back this season. The 25‑year‑old has been given permission to have a medical at Fulham, who intend to make him their seventh summer signing.

Diop has had a mixed time at West Ham. He started well abut has lacked consistency and not been a regular under Moyes. The money received for Diop will raise West Ham’s transfer budget. They still want a left-back, a centre-back and a midfielder, as well as a centre-back, and are interested in Ibrahim Sangaré, but the Ivorian defensive midfielder has just signed a new deal at PSV Eindhoven.

West Ham are also willing to listen to offers for Saïd Benrahma and Nikola Vlasic. Torino want Vlasic on loan but are reluctant to cover the Croatian’s wages.