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One in one out? West Ham to lose Issa Diop with interest in Attila Szalai growing

Diop is set to join Marco Silva’s Fulham after falling down the pecking order at West Ham, but the Hammers have already potentially lined up his replacement

West Ham is on the cusp of their first major sale this summer after promoted outfit Fulham have agreed to take former French youth international defender Issa Diop off their hands.

The Cottagers have reportedly agreed to a £20m purchase of the 25-year-old Toulouse native and Les Violets academy graduate according to French football expert and ESPN journalist Julien Laurens, who is set to complete his medical tomorrow after his four-year spell in London had failed to bear fruit in the manner most would have hoped after his rapid rise in Occitan.

Diop featured on 121 occasions for West Ham across all competitions but has quickly become the fifth choice in the heart of the defense at the London Stadium this summer, behind Kurt Zouma, summer signing Nayef Aguerd, Craig Dawson, and Angelo Ogbonna.

But the Hammers may not miss Diop for long according to Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor, with reports claiming that Moyes’ senior squad could be reinforced by Hungarian international Attila Szalai.

Szalai is said to be one of a cadre of names on West Ham’s shortlist for further reinforcement at center-back, not just due to the sale of Diop, but to the untimely pre-season ankle injury suffered by the aforementioned Aguerd, who has no slated timetable of return at the time of writing.

The 24-year-old native of Budapest has become a hot commodity in Hungarian football after graduating through the youth ranks at Austrian outfit Rapid Wien, before a pair of two-year stints at Mezőkövesdi SE and Apollon Limassol led him to securing a move to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe SK in the January window of the 2020-21 season.

With Taylor’s report claiming that the pricetag for Szalai would be somewhere in the region of £10m-£15m, it would constitute another prudent investment by West Ham that would take their summer spending to over £100m, potentially making the Hungarian international the club’s sixth new addition via the market this transfer window.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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