Thus, it seems that the line has finally been drawn in the sand. Tanguy Ndombele’s Tottenham career is all but over and he will be condemned to the annuls of history as a bizarre and highly confusing footnote.

Signed for what is still a club record fee of over £60m (TransferMarkt) from Lyon, amid great fanfare, Tanguy was supposed to be the fulcrum around which a new side could potentially be built.

A part of Pochettino’s brave new world along with Gio Lo Celso that would push on from the Champions League final defeat.

Tanguy Ndombele

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Things started promisingly enough, a solid enough debut against Aston Villa saw him find the net in a 3-1 win (Evening Standard), but things never really ignited for the Frenchman. He struggled with injuries and was in and out of the team.

The manager who signed him departed and was replaced by the far more practical/defensive-minded Jose Mourinho; his game time diminished and Tanguy struggled to complete 90 minutes even when he was selected.

The following season was arguably the best in the Frenchman’s time at the club. He played consistently under Jose, who had seemed to get the best out of him, scoring several goals – including the audacious lob against Sheffield United. However, once again, the end of the season saw diminishing game time for the mercurial midfielder.

In some fairness to the player, being at Tottenham recently has been a rather turbulent experience and, by the start of the 2021/22 season he was onto his fourth Tottenham manager in Nuno Espirito Santo, then quickly onto his fifth in Antonio Conte.

Even those with limited understanding of the Premier League and those that frequent it, could see that Ndombele and Conte was a car crash waiting to happen, with the flair and audaciousness of Tanguy firmly at odds with the Italian manager, who valued industry, hard work and discipline above all else.

Therefore, it came as no surprise when, in the January of 2022, Tanguy was allowed to return, on loan, to his former club Lyon. Despite the erratic displays, many hoped that this move would energise Ndombele, allowing him to rediscover the form that had made him such a sought-after talent in 2019.

Disappointingly, his time back in France was unable to do this. After a bright start, the same patterns emerged and his game time decreased further and further until he returned back to London.

The following year was spent at Napoli. Once more, Tottenham fans rushed to see the positives – with an attacking manager in Luciano Spalletti, this could be the making of the man. Could it?

On paper, the season was a success – Napoli romped to the Serie A title, but Ndombele played a peripheral part in that – failing to finish 90minutes in Serie A, and ultimately being an unused sub for the five games – even when the league had been sewn up (TransferMarkt).

There is a Spanish word – ‘remontada’ that has often been used in conjunction with Tanguy Ndombele. It means ‘comeback’ and almost every Tottenham fan has hoped, on multiple occasions, for a Tanguy comeback.

Now, in Ange Postecoglu, we finally had a manager who embraced free-flowing, relentless, attacking football. If the Frenchman was ever going to succeed at Tottenham, it would be now. This was it – last chance saloon.

One straw that fans have always clutched at is that Tanguy has never had a manager who has ‘got him’. Pochettino, arguably, was that man, but the succession of managers after were very different.

Ange, although he has made it quite clear he is not overly close with the players, definitely has a ‘human’ quality and a natural warmth and made it quite clear that all would be given a clean slate.

Initially, the signs were good, Alasdair Gold, an openly dedicated ‘Tanguy-Enthusiast’ reported that the signs were good and he was impressing in training (Spurs Web). How was he going to fit in? Where would he play?

The first seed of doubt emerged when it was announced that he had taken a knock and would not play against West Ham, and then the Lion City Sailors. It seemed horribly predictable. Following the Leicester friendly debacle, he was not even mentioned in relation to the friendlies against Shakhtar or Barca. Something was amiss.

The news then emerged that no one wanted to hear, yet were completely unsurprised to find out. ‘Ange Postecoglou unimpressed with Ndombele’s attitude and timekeeping’ (Express) and that he was available for transfer. Cue the mass exhale and heads going into hands.

This was it – the death knoll was sounding loud and clear for Tanguy’s Tottenham career. Even the most ardent fan of the Frenchman can no longer identify a path of return.

As several tweets mourned, Tanguy Ndombele Remontada June ’23 – July ’23.

Upon reflection on Tanguy’s time in North London, I find it hard to fathom. I have seen very few players with such extraordinary levels of skill and control. He was able to do the unexpected, and in the process make it look so simple; making opposition players look foolish and in doing so delighting the fans.

Unfortunately, there was the other side. The player who did not work for the team, the player who was unfit and was described by Jamie Carragher on national television as ‘a disgrace’ (Evening Standard).

Despite such performances such as the one at Burnley and then Morecambe, the Tottenham fans have been remarkably forgiving, it goes to show that a play with immense talent is afforded far more ‘slack’ than a player with limited ability, who always gives it their all. Those reading between the lines understand to whom I am referring.

What next for Tanguy Ndombele?

Yet, my overriding feeling about Tanguy is sadness. It would be easy to point the finger at him and brand him ‘lazy’ or ‘greedy’. Similarly, I could engage in a diatribe about how ‘If I was on £200k a week, I’d at least get to work on time’.

But – if the situation with Dele has taught us anything – we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg. We do not know what is going on in his life now or what has happened in his past. We cannot see the workings of his mind or where he is emotionally right now.

I have no doubt, a little bit like with Adel Taarabt, that Tanguy could have been one hell of a player. Indeed, when we signed him, I remember saying to a friend that I expected clubs like Real Madrid to be in for him in twelve months’ time. I was wrong – conclusively.

What a player he could have been. Talked about in the same breath as midfielders such as Modric, Van der Vaart or, dare I say it, Hoddle. His touch, vision, agility and passing ability alone are what many players, even at the highest level, could only dream of.

I hope, genuinely, that Tanguy can rediscover the form that once made him one of the most sought-after youngsters in European football.

At the very least I hope he enjoys playing football again, whether that be in Turkey, France or even Saudi. If he does, then one thing is for sure – the fans will be electrified by this footballing enigma.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Keep up to date with all the latest Tottenham news and opinion by following SpursWeb’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.