Who: Tanguy Ndombele
From Where: Lyon
To Where: Tottenham
For How Much: £56.5m ($71.1M USD)
Grade for Tottenham: C+
Grade for Lyon: B
Tanguy Ndombele to Tottenham Overview
January 31st 2018. 517 days.
That’s how long it has been since Tottenham Hotspur have bought a player.
That purchase, Lucas Moura, helped propel them to an unlikely Champions League finals run this year.
Can new Tottenham record-breaking transferee Tanguy Ndombele have a similar impact?
Who is he?
Tanguy Ndombele is a 22 year-old midfielder (mostly a 6 but can be attacking) from France.
He played for Lyon last year, tallying one goal and 7 assists in 31 games. He’s excellent with the ball at his feet (seriously, he’s an absurd dribbler), penetrates well and is an accurate passer (nearly 90% passing success rate).
Without seeing the data, my gut is his xG is greater than his actual goal count too. There’s a finisher in there, even if he doesn’t score much / at all.
Ndombele has been on most of the “top young transfer targets in Europe” lists all year (more on this later).
In theory, this is exactly the type of purchase that Spurs need to make.
Is the price fair?
This is the most Tottenham has ever paid for a player.
The initial reports a week ago pegged Spurs paying £65 million ($82m USD) for the 22-year-old. The final reported deal today has the number at £56.5 million with the potential for £8.5m in bonuses (so basically £65 million if fully paid) to Lyon.
While £56.5 upfront is certainly better than £65 — are there more productive midfielders on the market than that? The talent is there, but at that price, is the production?
What impact should we expect?
This is really difficult to say as of today.
First, a lot depends on if Christian Eriksen is staying or going. If Mauricio Pochettino needs to replace some of that offensive productivity, that could mean a more front footed role for Ndomele.
Spurs need some backline support, and a solid #6 isn’t a bad way to help plug a leaky defense. But Ndombele has the skill set of an attacker.
Second, Ligue 1 players can take some time leveling up on their fitness when coming to the Premier League. And adjusting to the physicality. Look at Fabinho’s phasing in at Liverpool last year. How long will it take Ndomele to meet the physical demands of going from a weak domestic league to the best one?
So…who knows? My gut says two things:
- Ndomele is going to frustrate the hell out of Spurs fans for awhile, and
- If anyone will figure out how to put Ndomele in a position for success before the season ends, it’s Poch.
Given how much shit Spurs have gotten for not buying anyone for 517 days, it’s really hard to crap all over this. But here goes!
One one hand, Spurs need depth. Anywhere and everywhere. Remember back in January when pundits thought it was a “three-team race” for the Premier League title? Then injuries hit Tottenham and they dropped, erm, 27 points off the top of the table?
Spurs really needed to solidify their backline. If Tottenham was going to make any real charge at the top 2 in the Premier League (stop laughing), improving their defensive quality would’ve been the best route.
However, if Eriksen is out the door, getting any talent to replace him in the mid helps. Regardless, the price Spurs paid and the likely return they’ll see from Ndomele this season almost feels like they were peer pressured into doing this transfer.
Also, for as much hype as there was about Ndomele as a top young talent–who were Spurs bidding against here? Did you hear any other clubs diving in on Ndomele? Griezmann, de Ligt, Felix…every big club in Europe was after them. But Ndomele? Bueller? Bueller?
As for Lyon, this is easy. Had they gotten the £65 million all up front, they’d have gotten an A. Still, extracting £56.5 million for a guy who tallied 1 goal and 7 assists for you is worth a solid B.
As March winds down and domestic leagues enter the home stretch, many of Europe’s top clubs are already thinking about how they’ll improve their rosters this offseason. Real Madrid is poised to spend lavishly, and they won’t be alone.
While speculation is already rampant regarding the futures of top players like Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt and even PSG’s Kylian Mbappé, a slew of young players at smaller clubs – and some who are awaiting opportunities at elite clubs – will be the subject of headline-grabbing bidding wars all summer. Below is a look at five players aged 22 or younger worth getting to know ahead of the summer transfer window.
Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic (21)
The headliner of this list is among the Bundesliga’s biggest young stars, and it’s hard to imagine him staying with his current club next year. He’s reportedly a top target for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and his list of suitors seems to grow every day (Inter Milan and Bayern appear to be the latest to the party). If the young Serbian continues at his rate – he’s already scored 15 goals this year – it will be a stretch to consider him “under the radar,” if it isn’t already.
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi (18)
Like Jovic, Callum Hudson-Odoi is not exactly obscure at this point. His performance against Montenegro on Monday was bittersweet. His play turned heads, but the night as a whole was overshadowed by the racist abuse he and teammate suffered Danny Rose suffered during the match. Whether he remains with Chelsea will be fascinating to watch, as the club appears insistent on keeping him, but may not be able to. Bayern Munich is among a number of clubs willing to spend big on the young English talent.
River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios (20)
The Argentine midfielder appears to be the latest in a long line of stars from his country. His days in his home nation are likely numbered, as Real Madrid nearly acquired him in January. While Los Blancos are a less likely a destination for him after their signing of Eder Militao, a move to Europe still seems like a fait accompli, with Inter Milan among his most interested suitors.
Standard Liege midfielder Razvan Marin (22)
A deep cut, if you will, Marin is a Romanian midfielder who, according to Spanish newspaper As, will join Ajax as – no pressure – the successor to Frenkie de Jong. He currently plays for Belgian club Standard Liege, where he has scored five goals and tallied five assists in domestic play this season. Marin is believed to have impressed Ajax’s coaching staff during his team’s losses to the Dutch club in Champions League play earlier this season.
Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombélé (22)
Ndombélé has been called a younger version of Paul Pogba, which is, obviously, high praise. He is a tantalizing prospect who has reportedly drawn interest from Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus, but like Hudson-Odoi (and probably every player on this list), his current team has made it clear he won’t be an easy player to sign. The fact his current contract runs through 2023 probably means Lyon has a fighter’s chance to hold onto him a while.