Chelsea Plotting A January Move For This Ligue 1 Defender: What Will He Bring To Stamford Bridge?

Nice's Algerian defender Youcef Atal celebrates after scoring his second goal during the French L1 football match between OGC Nice and En Avant Guingamp at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, southern France on April 28, 2019. (Photo by YANN COATSALIOU / AFP) (Photo credit should read YANN COATSALIOU/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a recent report by Calciomercato (translated by Four Four Two), Chelsea are lining up a move to secure the services of Youcef Atal from OGC Nice during the winter transfer window. The same source has also mentioned that the Pensioners will only make a move for the Ligue 1 prospect if their transfer ban gets shortened by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Incredible Rise Of Youcef Atal In French Football

The Algerian full-back came through the youth ranks of Paradou back in his homeland before he made a loan switch to play in the Belgium top-flight for KV Kortrijk. The Jupiler Pro League outfit managed to sign him permanently last summer but decided to ship him out to OGC Nice for a profit.

Since sealing a move to Nice, Atal had put in some memorable displays in the top tier of France last season. The 23-year-old has featured in a total of 32 matches for the Ligue 1 side, scoring six goals while grabbing one assist on all fronts.

On the defensive end, the Algerian defensive ace made an average of 2.3 tackles, 1.9 interceptions and 1.3 clearances in the French top-flight last season (stats via whoscored). He has also represented Algeria in 14 international matches while netting one goal for his nation in the process.

What Will The Algeria International Bring To Stamford Bridge?

Atal is speedy and agile down the right flank, which helps him make some dangerous runs in the opposition half. He is also a decent defender at the back but needs to find a way to improve his productivity in the final third. The Algerian talent has often been guilty of throwing away possession, so he needs to work on improving his passing accuracy if he wants to succeed at the highest level.

The potential acquisition of a full-back of Atal’s potential will undeniably be a shrewd signing for the Pensioners in the long-run. With Cesar Azpilicueta slowing down with each season and Reece James still unproven at the highest level, Frank Lampard needs to bring in a fresh face who can make a difference for his side in the right-back position. 

Atal could be a good fit for the West London giants as he has the potential to grow into an elite level full-back someday.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.