West Ham dealt Hammer blow as third centre-back ruled out for the season


West Ham have been dealt a major blow as defender Issa Diop has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, handing David Moyes something of a defensive crisis ahead of a hugely important end of the season.

The French defender picked up a knock in the dying stages of his side's 1-1 draw with Burnley at the weekend, but played on and is now potentially paying the price for it as scans suggest that he has suffered ligament damage which could rule him out for as long as eight weeks according to The Guardian.

Both first-choice central defenders Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna have already been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign, leaving the London side short of options in the centre of their backline, with Craig Dawson the only recognised centre-back in the squad.

And, with a two-legged semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt to come across the next fortnight, it has left the Scottish boss with a major selection headache.

Moyes' three options

As an outsider looking in, it appears that Moyes and West Ham have three options. Firstly, they could move the impressive Ben Johnson from full-back to centre-back for the remainder of the season.

Alternatively, they could drop Declan Rice back from central midfield to central defence, though this feels like a damaging move further up the field and is sure to be questioned by Hammers fans used to seeing the Englishman excel when patrolling the midfield.

Or, they could take a risk on youth, with U23 centre back Aji Alese waiting in the wings and having impressed in his Europa League debut earlier in the season, he was not allowed out on loan in January.

It could be his time to make his name.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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