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Time for once £75m rated star to step up and prove West Ham fans right and wrong
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Time for once £75m rated star to step up and prove West Ham fans right and wrong

Time for once £75m rated star to step up and prove that some West Ham fans are right and others are wrong.

There was a time when West Ham valued defender Issa Diop at a whopping £75 million (The Telegraph).

For many West Ham fans, if there was anyone willing to pay anything close the club should have snapped their hands off.

Diop seriously divides opinion at West Ham.

Photo by Federico Maranesi MI News NurPhoto via Getty Images

After signing from Toulouse for £22.5m during the great Hammers splurge of 2018, it seemed West Ham had snared a prodigious talent destined to attract big money bids from Europe’s elite.

Diop was so good in his first season he attracted envious glances from then Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho who described him as a ‘monster’.

That inevitably saw the centre-back linked with Man United. But there was talk of interest from PSG and Barcelona too.

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Diop has struggled to maintain the standards of that excellent first season.

It is strange because as a defender – with the physical attributes Diop possesses – the natural trajectory would be to improve with age and experience.

For a time Diop went backwards at West Ham. And even the return of David Moyes – a former centre-half – and Stuart Pearce, an ex defender of world class repute, did not see a return to the form of that debut campaign for West Ham’s ‘monster’.

There have been flashes, though. And each time there is, a section of West Ham fans believe we are about to see Diop back to his best. But every now and then Diop will hit a bump in the road – like against Genk – and questions are raised.

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Time for once £75m rated star to step up and prove West Ham fans right and wrong

The 24-year-old had been persistently linked with a move away from the London Stadium. And his place in the pecking order was pushed back further by the arrival of Kurt Zouma in the summer.

Zouma has been an absolute revelation for West Ham. Indeed he has looked like everything Hammers fans had hoped Diop would be.

Many believe Zouma and Diop could be a potential West Ham central defensive partnership for years to come.

And when Diop has played alongside Zouma on occasion this season the signs have been hugely promising.

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Angelo Ogbonna’s ACL injury has opened up the spot next to Zouma and it will be between Diop and Craig Dawson, until January at least.

If Moyes’s actions against Liverpool are anything to go by that spot will go to Dawson initially.

But many West Ham fans are convinced Diop and Zouma could be an immense partnership which serves the Hammers for years.

If that’s the case it is time for West Ham’s once £75m rated man to step up and prove those fans are right – potentially starting with Wolves on Saturday.

And at the same time prove those still doubting him wrong.

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Designer’s video shows simple but brilliant hybrid redesign of West Ham badge.