MADRID: As Tottenham Hotspur celebrate the return of club great Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid, the capture of another left-footed player from the Spanish side in Sergio Reguilon on a permanent deal could be a far more transformative signing.
Reguilon, 23, made an explosive rise in Spanish football two years ago, breaking into the Real first team from the academy and usurping Marcelo with dynamic displays down the left side.
"He has so much power and when he goes forward he is unstoppable. He oozes energy and he reminds me of when Dani Carvajal was starting out," said former Spain coach Robert Moreno after calling him up to the national team last year.
Reguilon's emergence was one of the few bright moments during Santiago Solari's short spell as Madrid coach when he made 11 starts in 17 games before Zinedine Zidane returned and reinstated Marcelo.
After Zidane signed the more defensive-minded Ferland Mendy last year to compete with Marcelo, Reguilon sought a loan move to continue his development.
He found a willing taker in Sevilla and coach Julen Lopetegui, who had given him his first competitive start for Real in a Champions League defeat by CSKA Moscow the previous year.
"I'm a very intense player, I like to play all over the pitch, I'm tough in defence and I like to join the attack," Reguilon said at his Sevilla presentation.
He was true to his word, notching three goals and five assists in all competitions, working in tandem with another adventurous fullback in Jesus Navas as Sevilla finished fourth last season in La Liga and won the Europa League.
"Reguilon's development has been monstrous. He is a far more complete player than when he arrived," said a glowing Lopetegui after the 3-2 win in the final over Inter Milan.
With the equally forward-thinking Matt Doherty on the right of Tottenham's defence, Jose Mourinho now has the potential for a bold, attacking side full of bluster if he loosens his usually cautious approach to having twin attacking full backs.
When coaching Real, Mourinho played Alvaro Arbeloa to counter the more buccaneering Marcelo, and last season at Spurs he played Ben Davies to balance the wild attacks of Serge Aurier, to take two examples.
But if the Portuguese can find the right balance and allows Reguilon to roam free, after he signed a five-year contract with the London club, Spurs could thrive with the help of one of the finest full backs in the game over the next decade.