A player whose future at Tottenham is in serious jeopardy
Tanguy Ndombele was left on the bench again as an unused substitute in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Watford yesterday, potentially marking the end of his time at the club.
It would be one thing if Ndombele stayed on the bench in a game over which Tottenham had full control. You don’t expect the enigmatic Frenchman to step into the fray when Spurs are ahead.
However, the last two games were tailor-made situations for Ndombele’s influence on the bench. Desperate for a winning goal against Southampton and Watford, Ndombele sat idly by, twiddling his thumbs on the bench as team-mates Bryan Gil and Giovani Lo Celso were fortunate enough to have an impact on the proceedings.
If Antonio Conte doesn’t trust Ndombele to deliver an injection of cunning, pace and creativity off the bench when Spurs need it most, when will the gaffer need his services?
At a press conference a few days ago, Conte stepped up speculation about Ndombele’s future at Spurs, saying:
“There are players who understand before, players who understand very well and then there are other players who need more time or could [find it] difficult to understand the situation.
It was an honest assessment of Ndombele’s current status at the club, and another example of Conte’s lack of confidence in the wayward Frenchman.
The Frenchman has managed just 80 Premier League minutes in three separate appearances since Antonio Conte arrived on the scene. The lion’s share of those minutes, 64 against Liverpool, was only awarded to him due to a severe staff shortage following a devastating Covid-19 tornado.
He came on with five minutes left in Conte’s opener in charge at Goodison and saw 11 minutes of playing time off the bench as Spurs had already come full circle against Palace recently.
As for midfielders, only Bryan Gil has seen less Premier League action on Spurs’ roster since Conte took the helm, a very worrying theme for Ndombele. And Gil, who is only 20, had a hamstring problem early in Conte’s tenure and reportedly had Covid-19 and, even more baffling for Ndombele, was Conte’s preferred option on the bench during of the last two competitions.
If Ndombele leaves, even if only on loan, it will be the most Tottenham have ever overpaid for a player, which has cost the club nearly Â£ 65million. Sadly, Ndombele may not even have to leave for this disturbing statement to ring true.