The Frenchman has generally been terrific over the course of his Hammers tenure, although he does have the odd dodgy game in his locker. That’s led to a disagreement between the two ‘Drive’ presenters.
“Issa Diop is fantastic,” Durham said on talkSPORT [16/09; 18:11], to which Gough replied: “Well, he’s OK.” Durham then fired back with: “No, he’s fantastic.”
He went on: “He would get in the [Manchester] City side right now, I think. And I think if they had him alongside Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool it would marginally improve him.”
Gough’s response?: “I think he’s a decent player; I think West Ham’s his level. I know he’s been linked to some bigger clubs, but no one went out and paid the money for him. That tells you a true story.”
These two contrasting opinions tell you all you need to know about how Diop is viewed in England. For some, he is a colossal presence in the West Ham backline who could easily get into any team in the country. For others, he’s an overrated and inconsistent youngster who hasn’t fulfilled his potential yet. His age should be mentioned, though. He is just 22 after all, and so he’s not going to be the finished article just yet, particularly as a centre half. Durham is right, though, Diop would get into the City team at the moment after Aymeric Laporte’s injury. However, there’s no way that Jurgen Klopp would pick him for Liverpool ahead of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez. For Gough to say that West Ham is Diop’s level is a bit of a strange comment. The Hammers want to get better and move up the table, and Diop’s a big part of that. But perhaps Gough merely sees them as a seventh-at-best team and therefore views that as Diop’s level.