Injury expert Ben Dinnery believes that West Ham United defender Issa Diop won’t play for the rest of the season as the Hammers’ injury concerns worsen.
THE LOWDOWN: CRISIS AT THE BACK
It was recently revealed by reliable insider ExWHUemployee that the French defender had sustained a serious ankle injury against Burnley which looks set to rule him out for the rest of the season as reported by The Guardian.
Diop was filling in for Kurt Zouma who has also been struck with an ankle injury which has potentially ended his campaign also.
With Angelo Ogbonna still recovering from knee surgery, Craig Dawson has been left as the only fit, senior centre-back in the squad leaving David Moyes with a huge headache as the club prepares for an important Premier League meeting with Chelsea this weekend before the first leg of their Europa League semi-final with Eintracht Frankfurt next Thursday.
THE LATEST: WORRYING UPDATE
After another memorable season for the east London club, injury expert Dinnery fears their hopes of achieving Champions League football could be dashed as Diop deals with potentially season-ending ligament damage.
He told Football Insider:
“The early indications are that this one is on the higher side in terms of severity.
“He has suffered ligament damage. It’s a setback and my understanding is that he may not play again this season.
“That leaves West Ham very short in defence in terms of experienced centre-backs. Ogbonna and Zouma are out as well, so it doesn’t look good.”
THE VERDICT: CAN’T AFFORD TO DROP RICE BACK
Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell is of the belief that Moyes can solve his defensive crisis by dropping influential midfielder Declan Rice into the back line.
Rice played there 15 times for the east Londoners during the 2017/18 season but his emergence as “the best in his position in world football” according to former Chelsea and England captain John Terry, leaves it difficult for the manager to logically move him out of the engine room.
Indeed the Scot is reportedly reluctant to do so but with the only alternative being U23 prospect Aji Alese, who started December’s Europa League loss to Dinamo Zagreb, his hand may be forced.
It’s a big decision for the boss to ponder as the club deal with the ramifications of failing to land another centre-back in the January transfer window.