West Ham: Is Nayef Aguerd better than Issa Diop?

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West Ham United look set to confirm the capture of Rennes centre-back Nayef Aguerd this week.

That is according to The Telegraph who believe that the Moroccan international is set to sign for David Moyes’ side imminently, with the Daily Mail even claiming that a medical is due this week after agreeing on a £25m deal.

The report comes as rumours have begun to emerge that current Irons’ centre-back Issa Diop could be heading for the exit door at the London Stadium, with Aguerd potentially acting as a direct replacement for the former France U21 international.

With that in mind, let’s see how the Moroccan and Frenchman compare ahead of a potential one-in, one-out scenario, this summer. 

Issa Diop

The £9m-rated beast struggled with injury issues last season and was unable to hold down a regular spot in Moyes’ side, as West Ham finished seventh in the Premier League and reached a Europa League semi-final.

Diop made just 13 Premier League appearances over the last campaign, playing in 26 games in all competitions, in which he scored one goal and provided two assists, according to Transfermarkt.

In the 25-year-old’s limited appearances, he made a combined 26 tackles and interceptions for Moyes’ side, as well as making 23 blocks, and attempting 72 pressures in the Premier League, according to FBref.

The 6 foot 4 brute is also a competent passer of the ball, completing 86.1% of his 469 attempted passes in the top flight last season, according to the same stats provider.

An average SofaScore rating of 6.69 for his Premier League performances in 2021/22 suggests that the Frenchman may have played slightly under-par for the majority of the campaign, which could be owing to his unfortunate injury record.

Nayef Aguerd

Meanwhile, the £10.8m-rated Moroccan has enjoyed the opposite fortune over the last campaign, playing in 40 matches for Rennes, in which he scored four goals and provided three assists for his teammates, according to Transfermarkt.

He has been described as a “cerebral person” by former Rennes manager Julien Stéphan, suggesting that he is a respected member of the Ligue 1 side’s squad.

The 26-year-old monster’s performances over the last season have ranked him in the top 10% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues for passes attempted per 90 minutes (71.54) according to FBref.

And the 6 foot 2 titan clearly makes use of his height advantage as well, ranking in the top 18% of centre-backs for aerial duels won per 90 minutes (3.55) according to the same stats provider. 

The 21-time Morocco international’s SofaScore rating for his performances in the last Ligue 1 campaign compare favourably to that of his West Ham opposite number, with a score of 7.05 suggesting he’s had a significantly better season than the Frenchman.

Our verdict

We believe that the signing of Aguerd would be a significant upgrade on Diop for West Ham, if not simply for the fact that his injury record is cleaner, suggesting that Moyes would be unlikely to have the same defensive crisis next season that he had during the last campaign.

The Moroccan international has also enjoyed a highly impressive season on both the club and international stage and would likely become a regular starter for the Irons, as they look to balance a Premier League and UEFA Europa Conference League campaign next season.

We think that GSB would be making a sensible move by upgrading Diop for Aguerd ahead of next season, and they should be doing everything possible to get the defensive colossus to sign on the dotted line ahead of a big campaign at the London Stadium.

In other news, West Ham could pursue deal for midfield maestro

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