Tanguy Ndombele has struggled throughout his first season at Tottenham Hotspur since his move from Lyon last summer, and it is clear Ledley King’s pre-season prediction about the French midfielder was absolutely bang on.
Ndombele, 23, was bought by Tottenham in a club-record move that saw chairman Daniel Levy finally replace Mousa Dembeke – six months after the Belgian had departed. Ndombele made an instant impact, scoring in a 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
But the France international has not lived up to the hype, and is certainly yet to prove his transfer fee. Niggling hamstring and groin injuries have disrupted his momentum, while it is clear that Jose Mourinho is yet to be convinced.
The Portuguese manager called Ndombele out after the 1-1 draw against Burnley at Turf Moor, blaming the club’s poor first-half display on him. Spurs legend King claimed it would take Ndombele time to adapt, and his prediction has rung true.
“He is going to need some time to adjust because he is coming from the French league which is very different to the Premier League,” King told Football London in pre-season. “It will time for him to adjust but without a doubt he is a great talent.”
TBR’s view – An interesting summer ahead for Ndombele
Ndombele may be slightly thankful that the European Championships have been pushed back by 12 months. His current form would have seen him struggle to get into Didier Deschamps’ side, even with Paul Pogba struggling for fitness.
A solid pre-season is key, then, depending on when the 2020-21 campaign will begin. But it must be considered whether Mourinho will actually want to keep the powerful midfielder, given his obvious frustration with Ndombele.
The likeliest route is that Spurs will pursue with Ndombele and hope that, as King says, he does eventually adjust.