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Report: Hammers identify possible replacement for key first-team player

West Ham United are understood to have identified Nice central defender Malang Sarr as a possible replacement for Issa Diop, according to Get French Football News.

The Hammers are readying themselves for a bid from a top six club for their powerful centre-back, and are worried they will not be able to hang on to him should such an offer come in.

In fact, West Ham are prepared for that to happen and are understood to be set to sell their defensive lynchpin, if they were to receive £40 million or more.

Diop arrived at the London Stadium in 2018, when the Hammers paid Toulouse £22.5m for his services, and he has repaid that fee and more with some impressive performances at the heart of their defence.

The 23-year-old has been one of the bright spots in what has been an otherwise disappointing campaign for West Ham, so if they are to lose the Frenchman, it is imperative that they have a replacement ready and waiting.

That is where Sarr could come in. The France under-21 international featured 20 times for Nice in the curtailed Ligue 1 campaign and stood out as someone who could make a successful switch to the Premier League, and clearly caught the eye of the Hammers.

The 21-year-old is out of contract at the end of the month, so West Ham would be able to secure him on a free transfer should he not renew terms with the French outfit.

The Hammers would immediately be on to a winner, as if they could sign Sarr and tie him down to a long-term deal, he would be worth around £25m straight away, so there is a lot of upside to such a move.

Before then however, David Moyes will be looking on his West Ham side, with Diop in it, to get the better of Wolves when they return to action on Saturday afternoon.

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