Aïssa Mandi (Châlons-en-Champagne, 21 October 1991) is an Algerian naturalised French footballer, defender for Reims, French Ligue 1 and the Algerian national team. He is a right footed centre back but he also adapts well with his left. He has played in 168 matches with 13 goals and 11 assists for Reims and 23 matches on the Algerian national team with one goal. He has always been a starter and never substituted in 2015/2016. He can also adapt as a right outside position.
He is basically a complete player for what the position requires. Extremely intelligent tactically, he seems to have been brought up in the Arrigo Sacchi school, by the way he moves. He looks and decides what to do individually and in relation to his teammates’ positions. His body is always in the correct position for the best possible peripheral vision, both when he sprints back, directing his teammates to follow, and when he has the pitch in front of him.
Tall (1.84 cm) and skilled with good pace when he aggressively cuts toward the striker who has gone back to receive the ball between the lines.
He has a good foot for both short and long set-ups. He is accurate with his right, in any case good technique for a modern back. He is also excellent at attacking spaces without the ball (see his goal in a 70 m counter-attack against Nantes) and this is why he can also play wing.
He has a good head both in the attacking phase on set pieces, and with a ball coming into the centre with the attacker that needs to be marked up front. He has a clear mind in all of his plays and battles, reading them just a bit before they happen. This allows him to maintain a clean slate in terms of bookings (2 yellow cards in the season, one red, 20 total at Reims, one direct red and one for a second yellow).
He missed 5 matches in the season due to a pulled cruciate ligament that he bounced back from straight away.
Market value currently places him at a worth that floats between 3.5 and 4 mln Euro. Money well spent, if you ask me, for a 25 year-old who attracts the attention of the major European championships (Italy, Germany, England and Spain) at the level of teams that battle for the top 4-5 spots in the rankings and access to the European cups.