The Tottenham Ndombele dilemma – How can Tottenham move forward

Since the summer transfer window opened a few weeks ago, Tottenham Hotspur have been having fun for a few weeks. Historically, Spurs supporters have had to wait for the club to complete their matches before new players join the fold. However, with the help of Champions League football mixed with inspiration from Antonio Conte and the powerful rolodex of Fabio Paratici, Spurs moved very quickly in this window. Baracci brought in three players, two of whom could be the two favorites in the starting lineup next season in Ivan Perisic and Yves Bisuma.

It’s still early in the summer, and Tottenham are looking to make some moves ahead of their preliminary trip to Korea. As it stands, it appears Spurs are tempted to bring in reinforcements in their left central defender, right-back, and possibly another midfield option, as well as some form of additional striker. But it’s not just about bringing in players that Spurs need to perform this summer, there are still plenty of players in the squad that need moves elsewhere.

Whether players are unsuitable for Conte or players who need a fresh start to reignite their careers, there are roughly six to eight players likely to be on their way out this summer. The players that immediately come to mind are Tanguy Ndombele, Giovanni Lo Celso, Harry Winks, Stephen Bergwijn, Joe Rodon and Sergio Reguilon. Lo Celso was mentioned in a player exchange deal with Villarreal’s Pau Torres, who would be an option for Tottenham’s left-hand side additions. Bergwijn has been strongly linked to Ajax, the Winks have been rumored to be for a few different teams including Everton, and Tottenham could get decent compensation from a number of La Liga teams for Reguilón. But while it is true that Spurs will have many suitors for a number of their ‘outside’ players, Ndombele’s market has not been resilient.

Several seasons ago when Spurs called up the French, it was a huge coup and a clear sign of intent that Spurs were moving up the rankings in the senior competition. With Ndombele’s elite ability to handle the ball with inoculation and strength, he appeared to be the perfect delivery-and-play midfield port for Mauricio Pochettino. In his first Premier League game against then-promoted Aston Villa, Pochettino’s upbeat, progressive and attacking style seemed just right for Ndombele as he scored the equaliser.

But as the 2019-20 season dragged on, injuries and Ndombele’s failure to adapt to the Premier League became more apparent as he struggled to catch up on matches and the intensity match presented by the league’s opponents. Spurs were not helped by a very poor start as Pochettino was sent off after just three months into the season. Ndombele had similar issues under Jose Mourinho, playing a more advanced role in the 10’s. Mourinho’s “deeply loving” demeanor and demeanor were far less favorable to Ndombele, who would likely have benefited far more from Pochettino’s charismatic approach that tied the team together. More like a family than a divisive person who created a locker room centered on fear.

In Ryan Mason’s brief tenure, nearly every Spurs fan would have preferred to see Ndombele in the 2021 League Cup final against Man City, and Ndombele’s struggle with another coach continued when Nuno Espirito Santo came along. Without both Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko, who were truly his best friends on the team, timid Ndombele, like many other players, failed to run under Nuno. And when Antonio Conte came along, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope and one last chance for Ndombele’s initial skill set to be shaped by an elite tactical expert and coach like the Italian. However, after walking off the field with a goal against third-tier Morecambe at home in the FA Cup in January, there was really no going back for Ndombele.

The Frenchman was loaned to Lyon – club Tottenham made nearly €62m on his purchase in the summer of 2019 – in January and while his form has improved albeit in a much worse league in terms of quality, there was no option or commitment clause for Lyon. They made it clear that they did not intend to come close to his price and wages. Where Spurs really got it wrong several seasons ago, he was giving him £200,000-a-week wages – the same as Harry Kane’s.

Now, after three failed seasons with Tottenham, Ndombele still has three years left on his contract before his contract expires. It’s hard to completely shut the door to an unlikely return to the fold given Ndombele’s apparent skill and ability, but some transfers don’t work out, and it’s clear that the club, the player and his representatives have recognized this. While Ndombele failed to adapt to life in London, the club did him no favors either after years of precarious management stints mixed with different styles of play for which he was not right.

As we head into next season, Tottenham are undoubtedly preparing for what appears to be a busy – and hopefully fruitful – season while benefiting from a full pre-season under Conte. But as the season approaches and the transfer window dwindles, the Ndombele saga will loom larger and larger. I would like to see Ndombele realize his full potential at Spurs and under a coach like Conte, but the truth is that Spurs put Ndombele’s transfer in the rear-view mirror and consider it a failure and that is more evident than Bisuma’s arrival. , which operates in a similar manner and offers a similar skill set.

It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Spurs accepted an offer close to a third of what they paid for Ndombele. The club will likely be more than happy to take his salary off the books and explain further financial fluctuations to add more players. But Tanguy’s decline almost follows Dele’s decline, and it’s hard to see a team in any major league spending so much change in this financial climate in order to have the chance of a player who in his day can look like a world-beater also has so many poor performances mixed in between them.

One possible outcome for Tottenham this summer is to loan Ndombele with the hope that the club will split his salary or consider getting at least a percentage of his wages for this next season. As it seems unlikely and the chance of that will decrease as the transfer window continues, Tottenham’s goal this summer for Nadombele should be to get his salary off the books and put him in a position and in an environment where he can prove his worth and improve the value of his shares with the hope of selling him permanently in the next two transfer periods. Rumored for both Inter and Roma (ironically), that one saving grace is that under the right manager and on the right team, Ndombele’s value can go up as much as it can go down. It’s just a shame it didn’t work out with Spurs.

Follow me Twitter @RyanSRatty.

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