Diangana’s tough choice – stay or go?
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 2 August 2019 at 9:52pm
Written by : @karenbeardy
A year ago, many West Ham fans had barely heard the name Grady Diangana, let alone seen him play. He had been a regular figure for the U23s squad since 2014, and was part of the successful team that gained promotion in the 2016/17 season to PL2 Division 1, but few knew who he was or what he could do.
Upon Manuel Pellegrini’s arrival, senior U23 players were selected to train with the first team, allowing the manager to see just what the future prospects had to offer – Grady was one of them. As an attacking midfielder and naturally gifted forward, Diangana soon caught the eye of Pellegrini and was handed his first team debut in September 2018, alongside 3 other youngsters, in the Carabao Cup win against Macclesfield, scoring a brace in the process.
Diangana was then handed his Premier League debut just days later, coming on as a late substitute for Anderson in the victory over Manchester United. In October 2018, Andriy Yarmolenko suffered a catastrophic Achilles tear ruling him out for the remainder of the season, meaning Diangana became a regular in the first team squad, where he has remained.
But what does the immediate future hold for Grady? Pellegrini has stated that he, along with Josh Cullen, can stay and fight for a regular first team place or go out on loan.
With the current calibre of midfielders at West Ham (provided they stay fit), does Diangana really stand a chance of receiving much game time when he is competing for a place with the likes of Anderson, Yarmolenko, Anotonio, Lanzini, Fornals, Snodgrass, Sanchez, Cullen and Wilshere? At present, all are fit which puts Diangana’s chance of even squad selection as remote. Is potentially being a bench warmer at best really the best option for him, or would a year on loan in the championship not only give him regular game time, but also toughen him up in preparation for the more physical demands of the Premier League?
Given that he has at times been easily pushed off the ball when he has featured for the first team, a year loan with regular game time seems like the best option for him, but it has to be to one of the teams likely to be competing for promotion – Middlesbrough has been mentioned and would provide not only the right physical challenge for Grady at a competitive level, but with ex-Hammers Marcus Browne, Ashley Fletcher and Darren Randolph already there, it would also provide stability and security to such young player at this stage in his career.
A loan move would seem the best option right now, but time will tell…