Tottenham record signing Tanguy Ndombele has been asked in an interview why he opted for Spurs, when the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool were reportedly chasing his signature.
Ndombele would have been a fine acquisition for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side – to replace Nemanja Matic as the midfield anchor. He will instead be playing his football at White Hart Lane but we’re still intrigued to see how he copes in the Premier League.
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A long interview with French newspaper L’Equipe has been translated by Football London in a transcript style as follows.
L’Equipe: Take us through your decision-making. From the outside, we said to ourselves: he could sign for Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus, PSG. And in the end, you joined Tottenham. Do you understand why people might be surprised?
Ndombele: Yes, I do. But when you look closely, I think that it is a very good choice. What guided me was the Premier League, the top 4 in England, with a very good manager, who is going to help me take steps forward. I had come to a turning point in my life. You weigh up the pros and cons. And then you decide.
L’Equipe: What was the prokect proposed to you by Tottenham?
Ndombele: They have quite a young team. With very good players. When a club was a Champions League finalist this season, you have to look at their project. To put €70m on the table for me, it was a strong signal. When I look at Tottenham, I see a big European club. It is another dimension. To go to the next level, it was the best choice.
L’Equipe: So it was not a default choice?
Ndombele: Not at all. It was deeply though through. Tottenham have one of the best managers in the world. The fact that he wants you, it makes you want to come work with him. He was the one who shifted my decision.
L’Equipe: How did he convince you?
Ndombele: It is difficult to describe but he knows how to touch people, to leave a mark on people. He looked at me in the eyes and said: “come with me, I am sure that you will progress.” It is these types of little things that made me want to sign over there. I could see that he really genuinely wanted me, that he genuinely liked me.
It makes you think whether footballers linked with United think similarly of Solskjaer.
Pochettino was a strong candidate for the United job after José Mourinho was sacked in December.
Then Solskjaer came in as caretaker manager and quickly emerged as the front runner for the job.
However, after being announced as the permanent manager things started to go backwards for the Red Devils. The team’s form dipped significantly and we lost out on a Champions League place as a result.
Not having Champions League football can also be a big hindrance in the transfer market and it’s telling Spurs can offer that yet we can’t.