Zeki Çelik: Things to Know About the in-Demand Lille Full-Back

Zeki Celik
Zeki Celik has attracted interest from the Premier League | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Lille have already sold striker Victor Osimhen to Napoli for a big fee, and there could be some more players following the Nigerian out the exit door after Lille missed out on the Champions League.

According to The Times, Tottenham Hotspur are ready to step up their pursuit of right-back Zeki Çelik, who has been identified as a potential replacement for Serge Aurier.

The 23-year-old has only spent two years in France and is yet to really establish himself as a household name, so here's everything you need to know about Çelik.

1. There's Plenty of Interest From the Premier League

Jose Mourinho
Mourinho is keen on bringing Celik to Tottenham | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Spurs fans need to take note of Çelik's name, but they're not the only English side who are tracking the right-back.

Alongside Spurs, Çelik has attracted interest from both Everton and West Ham United this summer, so he might have more than a few chances to make it to the English top flight.

2. He Wants to Move to England

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? #Losc

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Earlier in his career, Çelik made no secret of his desire to play in the Bundesliga, but recently he has turned his attention to playing in the Premier League.

He told TRT Spor that one of his goals is to play in the Premier League, adding that he's already well aware of links to Spurs.

He's in no rush to leave Lille, but it looks like Spurs may have caught his eye.

3. He Models His Game on Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker
Celik spends a lot of time watching Kyle Walker | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Çelik spends a lot of his free time watching footage of other right-backs to try and find things to add to his game, and he told the Turkish Football Federation that one player he enjoys watching is Kyle Walker.

"I've been watching him since he played in Tottenham," he said. "Sometimes Guardiola also plays himself as a centre-back - something I have done myself.

"[I also watch] Thomas Meunier at PSG. There used to be Maicon. I really like the attacking features of Dani Alves. I watch them and imitate them."

4. He's Almost Too Focused on Improving

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Toujours pour le meilleur .. ?

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Watching footage and trying to improve is never usually a problem, but according to former manager Yalçın Koşkavak, Çelik might be too dedicated.

He told Goal: "He didn't give up working like his peers even when he needed a social life. In fact, there were times that I had to force him to have a social life. 'But teacher, I have to work,' he said. He's such a professional player."

Koşkavak added that Çelik took that advice on board and now knows how to balance things better, suggesting that change was behind his move to Lille.

5. He Watched Pokémon to Learn English

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A very studious character, Çelik finished school and spent time at an online university before moving to France, and he has always appreciated that learning English would open more doors in his future.

Speaking to Asist Analiz, he confessed that his preferred method of learning is watching TV shows and movies, with Pokémon his show of choice during lockdown.

There's no football lingo in Pokémon, but hey, if you ever need someone to help in a battle, Çelik's your man.

6. He's Obsessed With FIFA

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What a comeback!! ⚪? @losclive #losc

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When he's not watching Pokémon, Çelik usually likes playing video games. Football Manager is one of his favourites, but he admitted he has an unhealthy obsession with FIFA.

“I love playing FIFA," he said. "I played excessively in quarantine times. I played FIFA for 45 days."

He never chooses Lille because he can't help but pass the ball to himself, and as a 76-rated non-rare card, he's actually pretty rubbish in game.

7. He Wanted to Be a Striker

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Focus ⚽️

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A right-back by trade, Çelik actually prefers to operate higher up on the pitch. During his time in academy football, he actually wanted to be a striker.

His coaches pulled him back and actually wanted to play him as a centre-back as a result of his impressive physique, but Çelik refused and instead insisted on a compromise which would allow him to move to right-back.

8. But He's Not Actually That Good in Attack

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+3 ?⚪?

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It wasn't just his physique which saw coaches want to play Çelik at the back. As it turned out, he wasn't actually very good going forward.

He has scored just six goals in his career thus far, and most who have watched Çelik play will admit that he looks very shaky when presented with a chance to score. He's got a mean cross on him, but that's as far as it goes.

Çelik admitted that his attacking weaknesses have left him feeling really upset in the past as he was forced to come to terms with the kind of player he actually is, but he seems like he's getting by just fine these days.

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