Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele has been described by Jermaine Jenas as being in the “special” bracket alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
The 23-year-old arrived at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to much fanfare in 2019 in a club record deal, Spurs having reportedly agreed an initial fee of around £55million with Lyon.
Ndombele’s early days at Tottenham weren’t exactly smooth sailing amid injuries and loss of form, and his end-of-season tally last term saw him made 21 Premier League appearances, with just 12 starts.
Indeed, in Spurs’ meeting with Burnley in early March, he was hauled off at half-time by Jose Mourinho as the North Londoners laboured to a 1-1 draw, and was criticised by the Portuguese.
Nearly nine months later, Ndombele is once again a first-team regular, with 14 competitive appearances under his belt this term, and was superb last night as Tottenham ran out 4-0 winners over Ludogorets.
“There is a reason Mourinho loves players like Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg because they give him a minimum of 7/10 every week,” Jenas wrote on BBC Sport.
“But a lot of the others are more than just reliable, they are special – like Harry Kane and Son Heung-min of course. Ndombele is another one in that bracket.
“I watched him play for Lyon against Manchester City in 2018 and, with his technical ability, intelligent passing and physical power, he always had the potential to be one of the very best, he just took time to adjust to what Mourinho asks for.”
Ndombele is a talented player, his exploits with Lyon leading to Spurs spending a lot of money on him, and he didn’t suddenly become bad overnight.
A change of club and country, the change of manager at Tottenham and the player’s injuries and loss of form will all have played their part.
Some players hit the ground running when changing clubs and/or countries but others will take a while longer, and need a bit more man-management to really get up the gears.
The £200,000-a-week ace is now showing the kind of form that led to Spurs splashing out on him, and no doubt there will be much more to come from him.