Arsenal in the battle to sign 23-year-old Premier League centre-back

The London club coach Mikel Arteta is keen to begin his overhaul of Arsenal with a move for £60m-rated West Ham United centre-back Issa Diop. U21 France international has been a shining light in an otherwise tough campaign for the Hammers, and the club know they need to stay up to stand any opportunity of keeping the centre-back.

Issa signed for West Ham United in a £23m deal from Toulouse in 2018, and he drew praise from former united boss Jose Mourinho shortly after his arrival. Man United have since tracked Diop’s progress, and the Norwegian boss is an admirer of the centre-back, who has grown in stature during his 18 months in England.

But Red Devils were quoted a price of nearly £60m for the 23-year-old defender last summer, and that figure could rise with Gunners interested. Mikel has improved Gunners back-line since his appointment, but he wants defenders that are comfortably at defending one-on-one, which will crucially allow his side to push further up the field.

The French centre-back’s pace and towering strength make him a suitable candidate and the defender would be keen on a move to Arsenal. Hammers would be reluctant to sell Issa, but they’re currently joint-18th and are likely to need to stay up to keep the centre-back.

West Ham United co-owner Karen Brady has confirmed that the club are one of only two teams to request that the current campaign is voided due to the coronavirus outbreak. Arsenal signed Pablo Mari from Flamengo and Cedric Soares from Southampton during the winter transfer window.