He had become West Ham United’s forgotten man but now Issa Diop could come back to haunt Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho on Sunday.
West Ham take on Tottenham in what is a huge six-pointer in the race for the European places.
The Hammers go into the game as one of the top five form sides in Europe while Spurs have stuttered of late.
West Ham sit fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea and just four points off second.
Hammers and Spurs meet in six-pointer for the European places
While pundits and fans question Tottenham’s chances of making Europe this season, many are saying quite the opposite about West Ham.
Should David Moyes’s side beat Tottenham at the London Stadium they will open up a nine-point gap on their bitter rivals.
Conversely it could be cut to just three points with a Spurs victory.
Going into the game West Ham will definitely be without leader and centre-back star Angelo Ogbonna.
It is a big blow. But one Moyes’s side managed to make light of in the 3-0 win over Sheffield United thanks to a fine display from forgotten man Diop.
Two years ago if you asked any West Ham fan who has been one of the club’s best pieces of business in recent years and Diop would get a mention.
West Ham’s forgotten man Diop can come back to haunt big admirer Mourinho after return to Hammers side
So much so Diop was once rated at a whopping £75million by West Ham with the likes of Manchester United were reportedly sniffing around (The Telegraph).
But the young French defender has fallen down the West Ham pecking order under Moyes.
In what is undoubtedly the laziest transfer rumour of the upcoming January window so far, Sky Sports claim Tottenham ‘want’ Diop.
His performance in West Ham’s win over the Blades on Monday night was a watershed moment for Diop.
Some had written him off as a bit of a one-season wonder.
But the 24-year-old looked hungry, focused and after – in Moyes’s own words – a ‘dodgy start’ to the game, he excelled and even got a goal.
Resurgent defender must show he is still West Ham’s ‘monster’
West Ham fans witnessed a Diop they haven’t seen for some time.
And he could come back to haunt Spurs boss Mourinho – who has made it clear in the past he is a huge admirer of the centre-back.
The under pressure Tottenham boss put Diop’s name up in lights after a man of the match performance for West Ham in a 3-1 win over the Portuguese’s then Manchester United side back in 2018.
Mourinho praised Diop in an interview after the game, labelling him a ‘monster’ and crediting West Ham’s scouting department for unearthing the France Under 21 international.
“(He had a) fantastic match,” the United manager told BT Sport after that game (Evening Standard).
“Congratulations to the scout that found a 21-year-old kid Diop – a monster who dominated in the duels.”
Well Diop will certainly have to dominate the duels on Sunday as he goes up against the likes of Harry Kane and Heung Min Son.
The defender must show he is still West Ham’s monster.
Do that and help the Hammers to what would be a huge win over Spurs and he could leave Mourinho clinging onto his job by his fingernails.
And wouldn’t West Ham fans just love that.