Tottenham Hotspur are seemingly on a hunt for a new defender, namely, a right-back.
90min have published an exclusive report stating that Jose Mourinho might be looking at Nice’s Youcef Atal as a possible option for that specific role.
Even though he is a defender by trade, the 23-year-old is very capable when going forward as well.
He is also quite versatile in his approach and can be deployed in a number of different positions, including right-wing, right-back and centre-midfield, as recorded by the games Transfermarkt have in their database this season.
According to the Telegraph, Chelsea have also expressed an interest in Atal’s services in the past and the report suggests he would cost at least €40m (£33.4m).
But just how good is this young player and what can he offer Spurs?
To answer those questions, we sought the opinions of those who know him best…
Even though this not a single expert per se, France Football compiled a starting XI of the best African footballers in 2018.
Of course, the huge talent he is, Atal found his way into the lineup with some nice praise on the side from the big French outlet.
Here’s what they said, according to Nice’s official website:
“A monster of generosity”, the Nice defender “has quickly left his mark with his tireless work on the right wing for OGC Nice” according to the daily newspaper, who feel that “he has already been one of the revelations of the season (2018/19)”.
Vieira knows Atal pretty well and he also knows how vital he is for Nice.
Back in spring, after the full-back was played in a more advanced right-wing position, the gaffer was quick to praise him for his aggressive nature and particularly his versatility, while he also addressed speculation regarding a potential transfer.
When speaking to the club’s website, he said:
“We are not sellers. Youcef will be here next year.
“Youcef is improving. He works a lot. If you look at his goals, you see the aggression he has to be in the right place to score.
“He is a positive character with good spirit. He was rewarded for his efforts. The team allowed him to express himself and to show his talent. What he has over the others is his desire to get into the box.
“Youcef played in this position when he was younger, it gives us different options for this season and next. But yes, he will almost certainly move back to his position against Nantes.”
Mahrez is a name well-known in the world of football and the current Man City forward has had the privilege to see Atal in action himself.
When speaking to Canal Plus, the winger had some advice for the young full-back but was also pretty quick to conclude he is a player bound to go straight for the top.
Here’s what he said for Canal Plus, as quoted by Get Football France:
“The only thing that I would say to him is that when he goes off on one of his dribbles, that he needs to lift his head. Because he plays like this (motions head down). He has a huge future and I hope that he will go to the very top.”
It seems the rising talent is highly rated and Mourinho would complete a fine piece of business by securing his services.
If Spurs are able to strike a deal, it could provide the Special One with a quality long-term option at right-back.