Ndombele: Why the big deal?
While he wasn’t quite the first signing of the summer, Tanguy Ndombele has certainly made all the headlines since arriving at the new White Hart Lane. Elsewhere, Jack Clarke has been welcomed and sent back on loan to former club Leeds United while French midfielder Ndombele has caused the biggest stir of the entire transfer window so far.
The fee, believed to be worth an initial £55 million, is a new record for the club but why have Tottenham moved so early and what can we expect from the new man at the start of the 2019/20 campaign?
When greeted by the media, Tanguy Ndombele was quick to point out that he’s not the next Paul Pogba and surely most of us would welcome that statement. The two play in similar positions and it’s notable that our man replaced the Manchester United midfielder when claiming his first international cap but that is, hopefully, where the similarities end.
When tracking social media and watching a raft of YouTube videos, Ndombele’s work rate really seems to stand out. He’s got pace and hopefully that energy would eclipse that of the ‘laid back’ approach that United fans have become accustomed to from Pogba.
So that’s a positive start.
Filling the Gap
Spurs have no shortage of deep lying, competitive midfielders so why the big move to land Ndombele? Frankly, the 2018/19 season produced mixed performances from Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama and it would be no surprise to see the latter moved on when the dust settles on AFCON.
Moussa Sissoko stunned us all with his improvement but there was a big gap left in that midfield when Mousa Dembele moved on to China. Our new man can slot in and be more than an ample replacement for Mousa but there seems to be much more to his game.
A hastily assembled highlights package isn’t going to be the best way to assess a player’s talent but there is one common theme running through Tanguy Ndombele’s showreel. His passing is sublime: Just think of a faster Luka Modric and that’s the level of skill that we’re talking about here. It remains to be seen whether that type of slide rule delivery will appear week-on-week in the Premier League but just watch those packages and prepare to be seriously impressed.
We shouldn’t expect too much in the way of goal threat from our new signing: in 132 combined games for Amiens and Lyon, Tanguy Ndombele has found the net just six times. Clearly that’s not why he’s here and that’s a record that’s largely in line with the likes of Modric, Sissoko, Dembele and Wanyama.
Any contribution in front of goal must be seen as a bonus but the big news here is that we’ve moved so quickly and decisively. By all accounts, Tanguy Ndombele was Mauricio Pochettino’s number one target and that’s a huge positive. More names may follow but that’s a great start and we welcome Tanguy to Spurs with excitement ahead of the new season.