When your centre-backs score goals, it is always a bonus. But in Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena, West Ham have two defenders who have an impressive track record in that department.

As a central defender, your main task is obviously to stop the opposition scoring goals.

But if you can contribute with goals as well, then you can become a real asset.

Both of West Ham’s new centre-backs are beasts in the air. They have shown this already when defending from set-pieces.

And if they can start adding goals to their game when West Ham have corners and free-kicks, then the Hammers would have a new threat from another aspect of their game.

Issa Diop

Issa Diop scored in West Ham’s 3-1 win over AFC Wimbledon this season. (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Diop is only 21 but he already has plenty of first-team experience. The France under-21 international arrived from Toulouse in the summer, having captained his previous side in Ligue 1.

And the 6ft 4in centre-half carries an aerial threat that you would expect given his frame.

Diop struck five goals in 77 Ligue 1 games for Toulouse, which is an impressive return for a defender.


So far at West Ham, he is yet to get off the mark with a header, although he did score a long-range right-footed goal in the EFL Cup.

Given his height and physical strength, you would expect Diop to start causing problems from set-pieces soon.

Fabian Balbuena

Fabian Balbuena has scored 21 goals in his career to date. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

Balbuena is a real threat from set-pieces and he has had chances to open his account for West Ham.

The Paraguay international is yet to get off the mark, though, but surely it is only a matter of time.

Balbuena scored 11 goals in three seasons with Corinthians and has always scored goals at his previous clubs.

With 21 career goals to his name, the towering 6ft 2in 27-year-old knows where the net is.

If Balbuena and Diop start scoring, West Ham’s goal tally will rocket.

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