Liverpool have made an enquiry regarding the potential signing of West Ham United defender Issa Diop, according to reports.
This comes from The Athletic. They say that West Ham would only sanction a loan deal if it comes with an obligation to buy. He would command a fee of £20 million.
On the other hand, Liverpool have also been mentioned as a potential buyer for soon-to-be out-of-contract star Shkodran Mustafi, per The Evening Standard.
The 28-year-old German international represents the cheaper option given Arsenal’s desire to offload a player who will be a free agent this summer.
He, similarly to Diop, has struggled to hold a place down with his current club-side.
So, which of the two aforementioned targets represents the better purchase, both from a financial and tactical viewpoint.
Diop or Mustafi?
The favourable option would be Diop, a player they could face this weekend, when Liverpool take on West Ham on Sunday afternoon.
At £20m, Diop’s reported asking-price doesn’t seem too extortionate when you consider that West Ham were holding out for £75m when Manchester United were interested in the 24-year-old in September 2019, per The Telegraph.
Diop, a France youth international, was a huge success for West Ham during his inaugural campaign in East London following a then-club-record £22m deal from Toulouse in 2018.
There was even a standout performance against United where Jose Mourinho described Diop as a ‘monster’, having ‘dominated’ Paul Pogba from an aerial standpoint, per The Evening Standard.
Indeed, the prospect of shelling out money is an unfavored one from Liverpool’s perspective, but Diop could be a good player to have even beyond this season.
He is just 24, after all, there is every possibility that he can still become an elite defender in a few years time.
Also, Liverpool’s current defensive predicament warrants a case for more than just one centre-back addition. With that said, having a player of Diop’s potential can be beneficial even from a long-term viewpoint.
The same couldn’t be said for Mustafi, who is 28 and should be at the peak of his defensive powers by this point of his career. This makes the prospect of signing Diop as opposed to the former Valencia star all the more favourable.
Liverpool’s final decision, however, will inevitably be dictated by price. If the club aren’t prepared to put such a financial gamble on Diop, then Mustafi could indeed become the preferred choice.
Time, though, is running out and Liverpool no longer have the option of being picky. If it were up to us, we’d recommend the club went for Diop, as opposed to Mustafi.
One defender may not cut it for Liverpool, after all. The Reds will likely be in the market again for a centre-back in the summer, too.
With that said, the potential acquisition of Diop could be financially more beneficial for Liverpool as he could represent a shrewd investment even beyond the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign.