Tottenham could be in for a £26m windfall for Tanguy Ndombele with the Frenchman beginning to break through and impress within the Napoli first team. The Frenchman is currently on loan at the Serie A leaders who have a purchase option within the deal, something that could help boost Antonio Conte’s transfer funds in January if activated.
Ndombele moved to Tottenham in 2019 and became the club’s record signing, with Spurs shelling out £55.5m for his signing. But his move didn’t pan out, making just 91 appearances during his three years at the club, mostly off the bench, as concerns regularly arose over his work-rate and attitude.
He did not last long at White Hart Lane after Conte’s arrival last November, first being loaned out to his former club Lyon in January before another temporary deal with Napoli this summer. There is a £26m buyout option written into his deal, but it didn’t look like it would be triggered with the 25-year-old behind Piotr Zielinski, Frank Zambo Anguissa and Stanislav Lobotka in Luciano Spalletti’s pecking order.
However, he has found himself getting more action in games in recent weeks and was praised by his manager following Napoli’s 3-2 win over Bologna last weekend. The seven-time French international replaced injured former Fulham star Anguissa in the starting line-up and Spalletti was keen to discuss how well he did in the Cameroonian’s absence.
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“Without Anguissa, we need some strength in the middle and Ndombele has these characteristics,” he explained. “He is improving, he has a panther gait and loses a few meters: then when he realizes that he has to recover, he has a few meters less. He has strength and quality, an extraordinary pocket and a shot from outside the area”.
The praise Ndombele has received from his new manager will raise hopes at White Hart Lane that they will be able to recoup some of their original spending on the player. The funds they receive are likely to go directly into Conte’s transfer kit as he looks to add his squad for the second half of the season.
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The club have been linked with a variety of players in recent weeks, with Italy appearing to be the focus of their transfer business. Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo has been linked once again with a move to White Hart Lane, while Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci has also been mooted.
Whether or not Napoli will decide to activate Ndombele’s release clause remains to be seen, but hopes within the club will be higher than ever that they can soon get rid of the underachieving midfielder.
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