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Chelsea lining up £35m January bid for 23-year-old long-term target

Chelsea are considering an offer for Nice’s £35m-rated right-back Youcef Atal and are hoping to make a move for him in January should their transfer ban be lifted, according to reports.

Long-term right-back Cesar Azpilicueta has endured an error-strewn start to the season, committing defensive errors leading to goals against Manchester United and Sheffield United.

Consequently, his place is under threat with Frank Lampard reportedly considering handing 19-year-old Reece James a promotion, once he has returned from an ankle injury suffered in May.

Another option for Chelsea could be to move for Algeria international Atal, who enjoyed an eye-catching debut season in Ligue 1, scoring six goals in 29 league matches.

Atal, who played Algiers-based Paradou AC prior to signing for Nice in 2018, was part of the Algeria squad that won the African Cup of Nations for the first time since 1990.

Although Chelsea are banned from signing any players for 12-months by FIFA, the club are hopeful the decision will be reduced to just one transfer window after they appealed to CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport).

According to reports, Chelsea are confident that CAS will overturn the decision and they have already entered into discussions with various agents as they prepare to add to Lampard’s squad.