Losing the Euro 2016 final to Portugal on home soil was far from a last chance saloon for France. In Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, Les Blues may well possess world football’s most fearsome spine in the very near future, while emerging through the ranks are some of the continent’s most exciting talents.
Monaco phenomenon Kylian Mbappe is more the new Thierry Henry than the second coming of David Bellion, Adrian Rabiot proved against Barcelona that he is already on the verge of the elite while Issa Diop, the 20-year-old Toulouse defender, is developing at a rapid rate.
So much so that Tottenham are prepared to challenge arch-rivals Arsenal for the centre-back’s signature having sent scouts to watch him keep PSG at bay on Sunday, The Sun reports.
Diop, who earned a place in France’s under-21 set up this season, will not come cheap having signed a new contract until 2020 earlier in the season, but he is everything Mauricio Pochettino dreams of: young, hungry, physically impressive and technically gifted.
He certainly appears more suited to the Argentine’s demands than Kevin Wimmer who, epitomised by his torrid first-half display in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City prior to being hooked at the interval, perhaps lacks the all-round skill set to thrive at White Hart Lane.
According to WhoScored, Diop already dwarfs Wimmer for tackles and interceptions per game and, while his 75 per cent pass completion rate requires improvement, it is very similar to the former Cologne stopper’s tally.
Furthermore, the Frenchman is a threat at the other end, scoring and assisting two apiece. And the fact he is a regular in Ligue 1 at the age of just 20 is testament to his potential.