Tanguy Ndombele situation is putting Tottenham in an impossible spot

Tanguy Ndombele has a big opportunity to impress Jose Mourinho. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Tanguy Ndombele has a big opportunity to impress Jose Mourinho. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

Something is wrong with the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Tanguy Ndombele. That’s very bad news for Tottenham.

Tanguy Ndombele has the talent to transform Tottenham’s midfield from a disorganized mess to a real strength. Unfortunately, he is nailed to Spurs bench at the moment amidst rumors of discord with manager Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese manager’s decision to leave Ndombele out of Tottenham’s 2-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday sparked a new round of rumors about what might be wrong between the player and Mourinho. For what it’s worth, Mourinho flatly denies any row between he and the talented French midfielder. He insists that his decision to leave Ndombele on the bench is purely based on selecting the players he believes give Tottenham the best chance to win.

At the very least, it’s clear that something between Mourinho and Ndombele is not right. That puts Tottenham in a very awkward spot. Ndombele was purchased as the most-expensive transfer in club history. He certainly isn’t doing the club any good while being stuck on the substitute’s bench.

The easy solution to the issue would be to sell Ndombele to the highest bidder this summer. The problem from Spurs perspective is that the current global pandemic is set to depress transfer fees significantly for the foreseeable future. That means Tottenham would almost certainly have to absorb a heavy loss on the fee they paid Lyon for Ndombele’s services just a year ago.

The chances of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy signing off on such a financial loss are almost non-existent. That realistically leaves Mourinho with two options when it comes to Ndombele’s future. He can either work with the player to give him a path to first-team football or search for a transfer swap that would benefit all parties in the summer.

It’s unclear what Mourinho’s issue with Ndombele is. He’s not a manager that is fond of giving players second chances. If prominent rumors are to be believed, Mourinho has already given Ndombele several chances to meet his standards. It’s possible the situation between the two might be irreparable.

That leaves club officials with the challenging task of finding a swap that can boost the club’s hopes of closing the gap on Liverpool next season. It’s a task that is much easier said than done. The particular challenge will be swapping Ndombele for a player that has a similar chance of developing into a world-class player in time.

In truth, Tottenham would likely need to accept a player who has a lower ceiling. That might allow them to secure a player who is a better fit to thrive under Mourinho. The most likely outcome would be Spurs flipping Ndombele for a veteran player who could slot right into the club’s starting XI.

The ugly truth is that the discord between Mourinho and Ndombele puts Tottenham in a really tough spot. They don’t want to give up on such a talented player, but they can’t afford to waste a valuable spot in the squad (and on the wage list) on someone who Mourinho doesn’t trust. It looks very much like Ndombele’s time in North London will end this summer.

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