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Not many West Ham United fans had heard of Issa Diop before Manuel Pellegrini made him the most expensive defender in the club’s history.

The Hammers splashed £100 million in the summer after appointing the Chilean.

And £22 million of that went to Toulouse for the services of the talented Frenchman.

The powerful centre back has been one of the stars of West Ham’s season so far.

He was described as a ‘monster’ by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho who also praised West Ham’s scouts for unearthing a gem.

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Highly rated by club and country

His form for the Hammers has already seen the likes of PSG and Barcelona linked. Although the defender insists he is more than happy at West Ham (The Mirror).

Diop is already looking a bargain in the modern day transfer market.

So West Ham should revisit the Toulouse supply line to try and lure Diop’s successor Jean-Clair Todibo to East London.

Like Diop before him, 19-year-old Todibo is highly rated by club and country.

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Kicked out for not signing pro deal

He has replaced Diop in the centre of Toulouse’s defence this season making seven appearances and also scoring his first senior goal.

But Todibo has been kicked out of the Ligue 1 side’s first team squad after refusing to sign a professional contract.

Toulouse confirmed their decision on Thursday after Todibo failed to sign despite negotiations starting at the beginning of October.

Todibo’s manager Jean-Francois Soucasse explaining the situation in a press conference, as reported by Get French Football News.

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Hammers could have the edge

“Toulouse offered him his first professional contract with a salary that is unprecedented in the history of the club,” Soucasse confirmed.

“The player has indicated that he is still not sure about the matter and his situation. Today, Toulouse have decided to remove Jean-Clair Todibo from the first team.”

With January on the horizon and Diop already in their ranks West Ham could have an advantage over other reported suitors like Liverpool.

The two clubs also have an established relationship having already done business in the summer.

Todibo would likely cost the Hammers a pretty penny.

But co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold will perhaps be more persuaded after seeing Diop turn out to be a relative bargain.