Opinion: Fans and rivals should watch out for Tanguy Ndombélé
The summer transfer window has slammed shut in the English Premier League and the season has just got underway. In the window, a total of eleven players switched from the French Ligue 1 to the Premier League this season, and six players switched from the German Bundesliga to England's top flight.
One of those eleven from Ligue 1 to grab the headlines was the record-signing of UEFA Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur, Tanguy Ndombélé, captured from Olympique Lyonnais for around £55 million.
The 22-year-old central midfielder from France only played one full season for Les Gones on his permanent move from Amiens, before Spurs splashed the cash on him and at the same time smashed their record on a signing, held previously by the the acquisition of Davinson Sánchez on whom they spent £42 million. However, looking at his statistics from his Ligue 1 campaign last year, you can understand their reasoning.
A vital addition
It has been argued Tottenham have been missing a ball-carrier in their midfield after the departure of Mousa Dembélé in January to China. However it has seemed Tottenham have found their replacement and a very good one at that. Ndombélé is certainly comfortable on the ball and is someone who can retain possession well, which suits manager Mauricio Pochettino's tactics perfectly. His pass rate was around 90% successful last year for Lyon but it is the all-round ability of Ndombélé is what he was bought for.
Last season, he was a vital piece in the Lyon jigsaw as they finished in 3rd position and qualified for the Champions League yet again. Ndombélé may have only scored one goal in the league but it was his dribbling and his eye for a tackle which made him a wanted midfielder in the summer.
So what will he bring to Spurs? Well from his first performance in the Lilywhites shirt against Aston Villa, where he scored as Spurs won 3-1 against Aston Villa, Spurs fans can expect good things from the French international.
He produced a composed and mature performance in the middle of the midfield, first playing in a modified 4-4-2 and then in the 4-2-3-1 which eventually got Spurs the result they needed. Ndombélé gives more quality in the center of midfield and is good in possession who can easily play the holding midfielder's role.
He has much better ball control and passing range than their the other holding midfielders Tottenham possess in Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier, and possession is a key aspect of the Pochettino system.
What will please Spurs fans more is the fact that, unlike the other fresh expensive face from Ligue 1 in North London Nicolas Pépé, Ndombélé is already match-fit, and played the whole 90 minutes, whilst Pépé did not make much of an impact with his time off the bench for Arsenal.
It will also put an end to the worries that perhaps Ndombélé was only good last season because of the standard of league Ligue 1 compared to the Premier League. The adjustment period for the former Lyon man has not taken too long and so Spurs can hope he can be consistent this season as they push desperately to end their 11-year wait for a trophy.