Why Tanguy Ndombele is to Tottenham Hotspur what Fabinho was to Liverpool
The summer of 2018 was an eventful one at Liverpool Football Club. After missing out on European glory to Real Madrid in unfortunate circumstances, Jurgen Klopp was eager to overcome the heartbreak and have a transfer window that would go on to change the face of the club forever.
Klopp's defying stance after losing the biggest game of his life was clear and in many ways, it reaffirmed the fans' faith in the club.
"We saw the European Cup, Madrid had all the f****** luck, we swear we'll keep on being cool, we'll bring it back to Liverpool."
The club had no intention of standing still and were keen to build on a yet another trophy-less season. The owners declared their unwavering support for the boss and the message was clear: Liverpool have no intention of standing still and will do whatever it takes to bring silverware back to Merseyside.
Liverpool began their work for the 2018/19 season almost immediately. Less than 48 hours after that night in Kyiv, they sent shock-waves to the rest of Europe by announcing the signing of Fabinho from AS Monaco for a reported €45 million.
The club had lacked a natural defensive midfielder since Javier Mascherano departed to Barcelona in the summer of 2010 and Liverpool's ability to wrap up such a high-profile deal with relative ease was a sign of things to come. Klopp would go on to spend in the excess of €130 million on 3 further signings, with Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker joining the club in the weeks that followed.
Fabinho's capture was a start of an aggressive summer for the club and a year later, Liverpool were in the promise land once again and Klopp fulfilled his destiny at the club. The Merseyside club reached the Champions League final once again and won their sixth European Cup, at the expense of Tottenham Hotspur in the final.
Klopp had won club football's biggest prize, with two of his summer signings Fabinho and Alisson playing a starring role.
"We're sending greetings from Madrid, tonight we made it number six, we brought it back to Liverpool, cuz we promised we will do"
When Spurs announced the record-breaking capture of star midfielder Tanguy Ndombele for a club record fee, it was impossible to overlook the similarities. Aside from being a player who'd potentially transform their team, it was Spurs' intent to sign one of the most sought-after midfielders in world football that earned plaudits.
The North-London club had gone three transfer windows without signing players but after the Frenchman's acquisition, fans would argue that it was worth the wait. If sources close to the club are to be believed, Ndombele's signing is just the start as Spurs look to build on finishing third in the Premier League and reaching the Champions League final, much like Liverpool did a year ago.
The 22-year-old Frenchman would add much-needed quality to their midfield and profile wise, Spurs have found Moussa Dembele's successor after he moved to China mid-season. The similarities between the two players go far beyond their names, as much like Dembele, Ndombele is a terrific ball carrier and a brilliant passer of the ball. He contributes in all phases of the game whilst combining work-rate and technique with incredible elegance.
Max Aarons, Giovani Lo Celso, and Ryan Sessegnon have all been mentioned as potential targets and judging by the club's stance publicly, they'll look to keep adding quality players to the squad in order to bridge the gap themselves and domestic rivals Manchester City, who finished a staggering 27 points above them in the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino has never hidden his displeasure about the lack of signings and refused to commit his long-term future to the club if he wasn't given certain assurances. Ndombele's capture will come as a welcome boost to everyone associated with the club and with further signings on the horizon, Pochettino could well renew his contract as Spurs look to compete on all fronts next season.
In many ways, Champions League heartbreak in 2018 ensured Liverpool spent the big bucks and Fabinho's signing signaled the start of something special. He transformed the midfield as the Reds went on to win their first major trophy in 7 years and his signing kick-started the most important transfer window in the modern era.
After coming agonizingly close to European glory, Spurs will be hoping to achieve something similar, and the signing of Ndombele represents a brilliant start and Pochettino will be eager to build on it with further additions to his squad.