Tottenham Opinion: Why Youcef Atal would be a terrific fit at Spurs?
Spanish giants Atletico Madrid completed the signing of right-back Kieran Trippier from Tottenham on Wednesday.
Trippier, 28, played a leading role in England’s run to the last four of the 2018 World Cup, scoring from a free kick in their 2-1 semi-final defeat by Croatia.
He also helped Spurs to the Champions League final for the first time in their history last season, where they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
The England international was seen as surplus to requirements by Spurs, despite being a regular starter in the first team over the last three seasons and making 38 appearances last campaign.
With Trippier gone, Mauricio Pochettino is left with Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters as options at right-back, while Juan Foyth showed his versatility of playing in that position last season.
Tottenham were one of the clubs interested in signing Nice full-back Youcef Atal during the January transfer window. However, a move didn’t materialise then but the time is perfect now for Spurs to reignite their interest in the Algerian international.
Youcef Atal, 23, had a very good season with OGC Nice under manager Patrick Vieira. A right-back by trade, he can play on the right or left-wing and has done a job on the right side of the midfield too in Ligue 1. This versatility would be of great appeal to Pochettino as he deploys several formations to combat with the opposition.
The Algerian international would be a direct replacement for the departed Trippier. Aurier struggled with fitness and form last term and is far off from making the right-back spot his own. So if Atal arrives at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Aurier would certainly be his deputy.
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Atal is very highly rated in France and he should prove to be a superb long-term investment for Tottenham. He can cross, defend, run and dribble with the ball and is good in the tackle. The 23-year-old has the defensive acumen required to, at the very least, while his attacking abilities mark him out as a player who could thrive in the Premier League. There are few rough edges to his game but the Algerian would solidify the Spurs defence on a whole.
Pochettino has done well to develop young players during his time at Tottenham and he could be the ideal manager for Atal as well. The 23-year-old full-back is clearly a player Spurs need for next season.