Tanguy Ndombele’s time in north London could be short-lived, as it’s been reported that Barcelona have offered Tottenham Hotspur their choice(s) of a few players in exchange for the 23-year-old French midfielder.
According to a report from Sky Sports, Barca seek to bolster their first-team squad in central midfield and have prioritized Ndombele despite the fact he only moved to Tottenham for a club-record fee of $82 million last summer. Barca are facing exceedingly hard financial times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of play which ensued, thus they have resorted to swapping players to make a deal happen.
In exchange for Ndombele, Barca have offered the following players to Spurs: defenders Samuel Umtiti and Nelson Semedo, and midfielder Arthur.
On first glance, it would seem unlikely Spurs would even entertain the idea of so quickly swapping their club record signing for any of the players offered to them. However, one must consider that Ndombele was signed 1) by a different manager, and most importantly, 2) with a very different short-term future in mind. Once Mauricio Pochettino was fired and replaced by Jose Mourinho in November, every bit of planning and building done in recent seasons and transfer windows went out the window.
When Spurs signed Ndombele, they likely believed that Jan Vertonghen would remain a defensive lynchpin for at least two more seasons. With that unquestionably no longer the case, a left-footed center back with World Cup-winning pedigree (Umtiti) would now be a massive upgrade. The same goes for Semedo at right back, where some combination of Serge Aurier and Juan Foyth combined to give Spurs virtually zero contribution from the position this season. While Arthur is arguably the best player on offer to Spurs, what would they gain from simply swapping midfielders?
If Barca are desperate enough to send two of the three players to Spurs in exchange for Ndombele, Mourinho and Daniel Levy will have to look long and hard at the prospect of improving — and potentially fixing — two broken positions along the backline.