When Tottenham signed Tanguy Ndombele in 2019 there was one thing overshadowing his brilliant performances, his laziness off the ball. On it, he was a ferocious lion searching for prey, but off it, he was a sloth with no purpose.
However, ever since all of this criticism that Ndombele received, he’s drastically improved his movement off the ball. This season, he has been getting stuck into the holding role with both challenges and defensive covering.
Although, it’s not like the former Lyon star wasn’t an amazing player prior to improving his off-ball play. Ndombele scored in his Premier League debut against Aston Villa remember.
So, why is he one of the best midfielders in the Premier League?
For starters, the Frenchman is still very young (24) and has a lot of years ahead of him. This should be taken into account because it’s likely that he’s not in his prime yet and can still build on his game a fair amount.
His dribbling is sensational. Ndombele adds skills to his play, making it almost impossible for the opposition to tackle him. This results in an abundance of fouls and yards gained.
Getting these fouls helps Tottenham in the long run as the opponents have to keep taking him down and eventually they get booked. A booking means more pressure to be careful and make additional challenges, leading to more space for Spurs.
Another great attribute Ndombele has is his passing. It is often of a high quality, completing most short and long-distance passes with ease. The Playmaker has a pass completion rate of 86.35% this season (4.25% higher than the average).
Despite his passing in the box being rather inaccurate, Ndombele makes up for this with his passes that create goals. He’s usually not directly getting the assist but these passes drastically help the team to score.
Furthermore backing up the fact Ndombele creates many goals are his number of passes that create danger. His passes creating danger this season are 0.52 per game (0.13 greater than the average).
Ndombele’s number of dangerous passes is better than a lot of a number of rivals, such as Bruno Fernandes (0.51), Kai Havertz (0.5), James Rodriguez (0.44). On top of that, he also has the same as Kevin De Bruyne (0.52), which is saying something.
I believe that the only current Premier League central midfielders better than Ndombele are: De Bruyne, Fernandes, N’Golo Kante and arguably Paul Pogba.
De Bruyne is the best midfielder in world football so that’s not even close. Bruno has had an incredible 20/21 season and was even immense for Manchester United in the part of 19/20 he played.
Kante plays a very different role than Ndombele, but it’s undeniable that he is a better player. Defensively he’s world-class and is decent going forward as well.
Pogba has the most similar play style to Ndombele out of everybody I’ve mentioned. The Manchester United midfielder is at a similar level, but his experience at such a high level puts him above his international teammate.
Give Ndombele a few years and he could be up there competing for the number one slot!
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