It seems a long time ago that Nabil Bentaleb was a hot prospect at Tottenham Hotspur.
The six-foot-two Algeria international had a blend of power and technical ability which made him one of Spurs' more exciting youngsters but, despite making 46 Premier League appearances, it never really worked out and Mauricio Pochettino offloaded him to Schalke for £16 million in 2017.
Tottenham weren't wrong to sell him, because Pochettino simply had and still does have better midfield options at his disposal, but could the fee that the Lilywhites received look like peanuts in the coming years?
Speaking to German publication Waz, Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco raved about the 23-year-old powerhouse on Monday and claimed that the Bundesliga side already have an ideal replacement for Leon Goretzka, who will join Bayern Munich this summer.
Todesco said: "Of the quality, Nabil would definitely be a Goretzka successor", while Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel added: "We all agree with Schalke that maybe Nabil is the best footballer in the whole team. Nabil will gradually move closer, game by game, to the performance he can bring."
Going by those comments, Bentaleb, who has scored four goals in seven Bundesliga starts during a stop-start season which has been hindered by injury and a previous falling-out with Tedesco, is clearly extremely well thought of in Gelsenkirhen and it looks like they are grooming him to be their star of the post-Goretzka era.
And if the former Tottenham man - under contract at Schalke until 2021 - lives up to the billing then surely his value is going to skyrocket in the future - especially in the modern climate of massive transfer fees.
Chairman Daniel Levy is well known for getting a bargain in regards to incomings and outgoings but, through no fault of his own, Bentaleb might just represent one deal where Spurs weren't the big winners.
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