Why Lyon starlet Clinton Njie is on the radar of Spurs and Arsenal
Reports in the Le Parisien claimed that Spurs had tabled an offer worth over £7m for 21-year-old Clinton N’Jie, but the Ligue 1 side was holding out for double the money. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has denied these reports, but interest from London is there and even Tottenham’s arch-rivals Arsenal are said to be interested in the player. Newcastle United have also been linked with the player.
Lyon had a lot of players making headlines for them, especially a certain Alexandre Lacazette, but the 21-year-old Cameroonian was also extremely impressive for the French side and displayed time and again that he has a bright future ahead of him.
Taking Samuel Eto’o’s starting spot in the national team for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, N’Jie impressed and showed that the African nation possibly has an extremely talented striker in its team, someone who could go on to do very well in the future.
Early career and style of play
N’Jie started his career with Lyon as a youngster and spent three years with the club’s B team. He made his senior debut for the club in 2012 in a 3-0 win over Reims. However, he did establish himself in the senior side till last season. Before that, he hardly played a few minutes as a substitute here and there.
Last season though, N’Jie started 15 games and appeared in another 15 from the bench. He showed his capabilities by scoring 7 goals and grabbing another 7 assists.
The 21-year-old averages 2.9 shots and 1.5 key passes every 90 minutes. His direct style of play and speed are especially attractive and can be lethal in a team that thrives on the counter-attack. He likes to dribble and the fact that he is good at holding on to the ball helps his cause. He is also not afraid to shoot from the distance and his long shots are actually pretty decent.
He doesn’t have to play as a central striker and has been used as a “wide forward” and as a number 10 on occasions. The player has done well even playing out of his favoured position making him a valuable, versatile option to have. His ability to play as a wide forward could suit coach Mauricio Pochettino’s high pressing 4-2-3-1 system in which he could incorporate both Harry Kane and N’Jie.
Spurs have so far offloaded unwanted players like Younes Kaboul, Benjamin Stambouli and Paulinho but are yet to add an exciting offensive player. If they want to try and finish in the top four, they would need more firepower up front and it is not surprising that they’ve lined up a move for N’Jie.
The player could prove to be a perfect addition for the side. Pochettino also likes to work with younger players and could get the best out of the Cameroonian. For the player, however, a move would not prove to be the best option. He no doubt has a lot of ability, but staying at Lyon for at least another season looks like the best bet. The striker needs to establish himself and make sure he’s not a one season wonder.
Moreover, he needs to play more games and he is certainly going to get a chance to do that at Lyon. A move might mean that he adds a lot more pressure on himself at a young age when he is relatively unproven at the highest level.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra