Can Ndombele Become Tottenham’s New Midfield Maestro?

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Tottenham Hotspur F.C broke their signings drought and broke the bank for highly-rated French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. Ndombele became the most expensive player in Tottenham’s history when the London based club decided to spill more than 55 million pounds in order to reinvigorate the midfielder and add more weapons to Pochettino’s arsenal who nearly missed out on a Champions League trophy a month ago.

Ndombele burst onto the scene with a stupendous season with Lyon and the 22-year-old drew a lot of eyes resembling the profile of a complete midfielder. Manchester City, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona were all interested in him but Tottenham’s desire was the strongest and now that they have succeeded in landing him to north London, they can take a lot of comfort in the fact.

Ndombele was highly sought after following his wonderful spell at Lyon

Having been compared to players like Michael Essien, Paul Pogba and even N’Golo Kante in the past, Tanguy would remind Pochettino of Moussa Dembele who was a prized asset for Spurs but his departure to Guangzhou last year had left a big hole to fill. Tall and strong, Ndombele uses his body well to protect the ball. Not stopping at that, he also possesses excellent technical skillset ranging from the shoulder drop to quick feints that manages to fool players and allows him to carry the ball with a certain swagger.

Effortless and breathing aplomb with every touch, Ndombele is also a fierce worker and covers a lot of ground. His pitch maps resemble that of a complete midfielder and contributes to every phase – defensive, transitional and offensive.

Tanguy Ndombele is also an excellent passer and there is a lot of verticality to his passing range. He is not afraid to break defensive lines and find his forwards. Adept at the long balls, Ndombele spraying the ball up in air is reminiscent of Pogba’s technique. He averaged 53.5 passes per game last season and with an accuracy of 89%. He also played 1.2 key passes per game and had 7 assists to his name. The likes of Son and Harry Kane will be licking their lips at the service a duo of Eriksen and Ndombele would collectively provide.

Just like Moussa Dembele, Ndombele is really strong on the ball and contributes a lot defensively as well. Averaging one interception per game with 2 tackles, Ndombele is also a clean ball winner and committed only one foul per game.

Positionally, the 22-year-old is supremely versatile and will be a delight for Mauricio Pochettino who can deploy him both in defensive midfield as well as central midfield. He made 22 appearances for Lyon in central midfield and played another 16 games as a defensive midfielder.

LYON, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 27: Tanguy Ndombele of Olympique Lyonnais holds off Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester City at Groupama Stadium on November 27, 2018 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

His offensive statistics are great for someone playing the role he does. He scored thrice last season and contributed to another 7 goals. Taking 0.9 shots per game, Ndombele usually completes at least 2 dribbles per game.

Ndombele is strong, technically adept and is intelligent on the ball. After receiving the ball, he is always trying to surge forward and create things, forming a central part of his team’s dynamic. Aside from his forward runs, his lethal dribbling assets, he can also play needle of the pin accurate through balls and all of this combined makes him a really special player. He was the only player from Ligue 1 who was inducted into UEFA’s squad of the season.

However, one weakness that Pochettino would have to deal with is Ndombele’s consistency, or lack of it to be more specific. There are absolutely no doubts about his ability, but there have been several about his desire and commitment. Released by Guingamp as a 17-year-old, Ndombele struggled to get a professional contract because of his attitude that left a lot for desire.

Ndombele’s nonchalance has often come up as an issue

His manager at Lyon, Genesio complained how Ndombele would put up superlative performances against Manchester City in the Champions League but would fall back on nonchalance and play poor games against some lower sides in Ligue 1.

Pochettino’s work record in improving players is nothing short of excellent and the Argentine manager has a world class prospect in his hands to mould and shape. He might use him alongside Eric Dier or Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen in a straight midfield, or use him alongside another powerful player Moussa Sissoko. In either case, Ndomble is likely to be deployed as a box-to-box midfielder. Ndombele is cut out for Pochettino’s demands that requires pressing, orchestrated movement and rhythm and Spurs fans have every right to be excited about their latest signing.

Author’s take-

The signing of Tanguy Ndombele is a statement of intent from Daniel Levy. Spurs failed to win the Champions League after going all the way to the final but instead of slacking off and resting on those laurels, Levy is arming the side with more quality. Ndombele who was one of the most sought after midfielders in the market is a fantastic acquisition for Pochettino’s side that will have its eyes set on breaking the silverware drought.

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