Having already covered Crystal Palace’s apparent interest in securing the services of Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont this morning, it seems as though Roy Hodgson is also keen to land the stopper’s central defensive teammate Issa Diop.
Having graduated to the role of club captain despite still being just 21, Diop’s sizeable frame (he’s 6’4) and dependable playing style have seen him being given opportunities to impress in the French under-21 side, leading scouts from across Europe to keep a close eye on him.
As things stand, no concrete bid is believed to have gone in for him from Palace but with both Everton and West Ham being reported as potential bidders alongside us, you’d hope the decision makers behind the scenes are ready and able to act quickly, should the situation call for it in the coming days and weeks.
Born in Toulouse, Diop has been on the Ligue Un outfit’s books since the age of 9 and whilst he is undoubtedly hugely attached to the club, he is said to realise that he will need to spread his wings sooner rather than later, if he is to continue developing as a defender in the years to come.
Given the pivotal role he currently occupies at Toulouse, Issa is likely to seek assurances over game-time ahead of a move to any of the clubs being linked with him and whilst Roy may well be a huge fan of his, question marks do exist over whether or not the gaffer would be willing to break up the rock-solid partnership James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho have struck up at the heart of the Palace defence this season.
As we all know, strength in depth was a major issue for Hodgson and his coaching staff last term but whenever you’re attempting to bring quality players into the fold, issues regarding game-time will always arise. There’s no doubting Diop’s pedigree and potential, the main challenge for the gaffer would be to convince the big man that Palace is the best place for him to develop as a professional when our direct competitors are willing to offer him a starting place immediately.
Watch this space.