Newcastle United and Watford have established contact with the agents of West Ham United defender Issa Diop to explore the possibility of a January transfer.

According to a report from Foot Mercato’s Santi Aouna, Newcastle United and Watford have registered an interest in West Ham United star Issa Diop and have made contact to try and assess the possibility of a switch next month.

Diop is currently in his fourth full season with West Ham United, having joined the club from French outfit Toulouse back in 2018. The 24-year-old became an instant hit at the London Stadium, quickly becoming a mainstay at the heart of the defence for the Hammers.

However, the Frenchman has seen his involvement slightly reduce since last season as David Moyes preferred the pairing of Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna. At the same time, the summer signing of Kurt Zouma pushed him another peg down the pecking order this term. As a result, Diop has featured in just five Premier League games this term, most of which have come after the injuries to Zouma and Ogbonna.

With West Ham scouring the market for another central defender in lieu of the injuries, other clubs are now sniffing around the possibility of luring Diop away from east London. AC Milan have already lodged an enquiry for the 24-year-old, with Newcastle United and Watford also now emerging as suitors for the centre-back.

Issa Diop is a man in demand (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Issa Diop is a man in demand (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Newcastle United’s need for a new defender needs no explanation. The Magpies are the joint worst-performing team defensively in the Premier League this term, having let in the most number of goals and need to shake things up if they are to make a push for survival in the second half of the campaign.

As for Watford, they, too, find themselves in a similar boat as the Tyneside giants, sitting just outside the drop zone, having let in 35 goals in 17 matches – the third-worst defensive record in the league. None of the defenders at Claudio Ranieri’s disposal have looked assured enough to be able to mount an intense battle for survival over the next few months.

So, both teams can use reinforcements in the backline. And someone like Diop, who has proven himself in the Premier League and has age on his side, can be a good acquisition for Newcastle or Watford.

However, as mentioned earlier, West Ham have been hit with injury issues and are very much unlikely to sanction a sale midway through the season. More so, considering that they are still alive in the race for the top four and have made it to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League. So, while Diop may be garnering plenty of interest, a sale is a distant possibility.

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