OGC Nice defender Youcef Atal was looking increasingly likely to join the Blues in January. Nice had signed a new full-back, and fans were beginning to get excited. However, it seems this move will now be off, at least for now, after the Algerian suffered a serious knee injury in his sides win over Metz.
After an encouraging start to the season, which led to several of Europe’s elite circling, Atal suffered a cruel twist of fate just 28 minutes into the match.
He was stretchered off and appeared to be in a lot of pain. Nice released a statement on their official website yesterday giving an update on his injury. It read: ”Bad news for Youcef Atal and the Eagles. The diagnosis revealed a meniscal lesion in the right knee. He will be operated on soon and will, unfortunately, be out of action for a long time.”
The Algerian may well not feature for Nice for the rest of the season, which surely puts the breaks on any potential move to Chelsea. There is no certainty that Atal will come back as the same player, and the Blues will now have to reassess if they were poised to make a move.
Atal is a versatile full-back who can operate on either side of the defense and further forward. He joined Nice in 2018 from Kortrijk in Belgium and was part of the Algeria side who won their second African Cup of Nations in July.
Chelsea are now likely to pursue other targets to solve their left-back issue.