Fulham and Everton are among a host of European clubs considering testing Toulouse’s resolve to hold onto their talented young centre half Issa Diop, according to a Daily Mail report this afternoon.
The 21 year-old centre back has previously caught the attention of the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan, Arsenal and Tottenham with a string of composed displays for his club and at youth level for France. Fulham scouts have watched him several times since January. The athletic defender, who would certainly fit Slavisa Jokanovic’s ball-playing mould for centre halves, is highly thought of in France and enhanced his burgeoning reputation by helping Toulouse avoid relegation from Ligue 1 this season. He had previously performed similar heroics when being thrust into the heat of another relegation battle in 2015, at the age of just 18.
Diop, who made 41 appearances for Toulouse and scored three goals this season, is valued at more than £25m by Toulouse, who consider his leadership qualities as just as important as his undoubted potential. He has impressed as club captain despite his tender age and has made more than hundred appearances for his hometown club, whom he joined aged nine. With another two years to run on his Toulouse contract, it would take a substantial offer to prise him away and there would be a number of leading clubs in the queue for his signature.
Fulham are certainly in the market for new centre backs ahead of their return to the top flight. Slavisa Jokanovic has already been linked with a move for longstanding target Aden Flint and is also reportedly considering trying to conclude a permanent deal with Chelsea for Czech international Tomas Kalas, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Craven Cottage.