Tanguy Ndombele

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Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd chase Van de Beek, Spurs eye Kondogbia

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The transfer rumor mill is proving rather impervious to coronavirus, even as COVID-19 grinds the world close to a halt.

A report claims that Barcelona is willing to meet Lautaro Martinez’s release clause, and a pair of Premier League sides are linked with big additions.

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Marca claims that Manchester United is hoping to hijack Real Madrid’s long-held plans to buy Donny van de Beek from Ajax.

Van de Beek turns 23 next month. He has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.

The report says Van de Beek has been waiting on Madrid, who couldn’t free up the money to sign him in the summer and asked him to wait a year.

United would want Van de Beek in a deeper role behind Bruno Fernandes, and his move to Old Trafford would be yet another arrow to the exit door for Paul Pogba.


Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho is hoping that a drop in the pecking order for Geoffrey Kondogbia at Valencia will open the door to a North London move.

Marca again is the source, saying Kondogbia may be available due to the emergence of ex-Arsenal man Frances Coquelin at the Mestalla.

Kondogbia’s now been well above average at Monaco, Inter Milan, and Valencia, having been linked to a number of Premier League clubs over the years.

And Mourinho is still trying to find his Nemanja Matic or Marouane Fellaini at Spurs, though Eric Dier has clearly become a well-liked option in the midfield. Tanguy Ndombele theoretically has all the tools to do the job, but Mourinho is less-than-pleased with the Frenchman.

Kondogbia turns 27 next month and is unlikely to slip. Spurs sure could do worse if Valencia makes him available, though Ndombele remains an intriguing prospect who’s very much in-house and carries transfer record status.

Spurs admit failing to secure Champions League would affect summer recruitment funds

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Tottenham Hotspur released a statement for supporters and investors that admitted the potential loss of Champions League play could affect the club’s financial availability for player recruitment this summer.

Spurs currently sit eighth in the Premier League table after drawing with Burnley this past weekend, currently seven points adrift of a Champions League place and four points shy of fifth which could end up being a Champions League qualifying spot pending Man City’s UEFA ban.

Club chairman Daniel Levy spoke at a meeting with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust, and the minutes from the meeting published by the club outlined the chairman’s concerns with the potential lack of top European play next season.

“Daniel Levy responded that Spurs have a net base spend of £200m in the last four years on players but maintained there is little correlation between money spent and winning. It’s about making the right decisions. Funds were ring-fenced for the summer, however not qualifying for the Champions League would have an impact all round.”

Levy continued with the narrative that spending does not equal winning, saying, “Spurs are a club that makes superstars. Jose Mourinho wants to bring in players who give everything for the club because they recognize the opportunity.”

The club spent an estimated $163 million this season on players between the summer and winter transfer windows, bringing aboard the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Ryan Sessegnon in the summer plus Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes in the winter, while Spurs also committed another $46 million to this coming summer on the permanent signing of on-loan midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. Tottenham has struggled through a striker drought during the second half of this season, with both Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son missing significant time through injury.

Spurs can also qualify for next season’s Champions League should they win the competition. They currently face a 1-0 Round of 16 deficit as they travel to RB Leipzig for the second leg on Tuesday.

Mourinho roasts Ndombele after yanking midfielder at half (video)

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Jose Mourinho put one of his players on blast after Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.

The manager opted to start Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele, and the pairing struggled mightily in a first half that saw Burnley take a 1-0 lead.

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Mourinho took both off at the break, and substitute Giovani Lo Celso helped author Spurs’ equalizer.

The halftime hook wasn’t enough embarrassment for Mourinho’s liking, and he took a shot at record-signing Ndombele after the match. From Football.London:

“My thinking in the first half was that we didn’t have a midfield. Of course I’m not talking about Skipp as he’s 19-year-old. I’m not critical of Skipp at all. Tanguy had enough time to come to a different level. A player with this potential and responsibility has to give us more than he is giving us.”

He also said that the players’ performance forced him to divert his plan of saving Lo Celso and Lucas Moura.

Ndombele passed at 84 percent, and converted two of three dribbles while winning five of eight duels and making a clearance in his 45 minutes.

Mourinho has made complicated comments on Ndombele prior to Saturday, wondering aloud about the player’s uneven health or readiness to play.

Ndombele was clearly a big place to lay the blame for Mourinho, whose above comments are only slightly more measured than his post-match comments on television.

After naming a number of players as fatigued

“I hope he uses every minute on the pitch and every minute knowing what the Premier League is to improve,”  he said, via the BBC. “Many fantastic players in their first season in a new country for different reasons they struggle. There have been many examples of that. He’s a player with great talent. He has to know he has to do much better and know I cannot keep giving him opportunities to play because the team is much more important.”

Mourinho clearly started this midfield and hoped he could get three points off Burnley while resting his first-choice men for the Champions League at midweek.

The risk backfired, and Mourinho isn’t about to take responsibility for that. Instead, he burned a bridge (and lowered the price tag) of a big-dollar transfer.

“I was expecting players not tired to give more to the team,” he said (video above). “Somebody has to realize that this is the Premier League. This is probably a new experience and the first time he comes to Burnley. I hope that next season he can be fantastic because until now it is not enough.”

Hope for the future. Woof.

Jose Mourinho says no Spurs overhaul this summer

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho rejected the idea that Spurs will overhaul the squad this summer.

The London side has been better since Mourinho took over in late November, but still results have been spotty with injuries decimating the attack. The sharp downturn since last year’s Champions League success has led many to speculate this summer will be met with wild swings of the axe, but Mourinho told reporters today that is not the case.

“No, not massive changes [in the immediate future],” Mourinho confirmed at his pre-match press conference ahead of the FA Cup game against Norwich City on Wednesday. “First of all, that’s not what we think we need. Second, because of the profile of our club and third because of what the market is. Year after year, it’s more difficult. I’m not thinking of an overhaul.”

Despite Mourinho’s defiance, a host of Spurs players remain in contract limbo that could force the club into changes. Jan Vertonghen has still not signed a new deal, with his current set to expire this summer, while the likes of Eric Dier, Japhen Tanganga, Victor Wanyama, and Oliver Skipp all see their contracts expire in the summer of 2021. Also notably, the summer of 2022 brings the expiration of Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier, Eric Lamela, and Juan Foyth meaning they could see increased transfer activity this coming offseason.

Still, staying the course is a likely strategy as chairman Daniel Levy is not known as a wheeler and dealer. Last offseason saw the arrival of Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon, and Giovani Lo Celso plus the additions of Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes this winter. Such recent activity is another sign the coming summer could be quieter than usual.

Rampant Chelsea secure huge win, humble rivals Tottenham

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Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to secure a huge three points in their battle fo finish in the top four of the Premier League.

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Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso struck early in each half as Jose Mourinho’s Spurs were totally dominated with Erik Lamela‘s late cross deflected in off Antonio Rudiger for nothing more than a consolation.

Frank Lampard‘s tactical changes paid off as he completed the double over his former manager, as he became the first man to beat a side managed by Mourinho both home and away in a single league season.

With the win (their first in five games) Chelsea cement their spot in fourth and now sit four points above fifth-place Spurs who have 40 points.


3 things we learned

1. Giroud delivers clinical edge: This is just what he does. For some reason Giroud has been the third-choice striker all season at Chelsea and he looked likely to leave in January. Chelsea will be glad he didn’t. Tammy Abraham is young and has cooled down after a red-hot start to the season and Michy Batshuayi doesn’t have Giroud’s composure or experience in key moments. Giroud jumped off the bench on Monday against Man United and scored but was just offside and he has the knack of being in the right place at the right time. We spoke with Giroud after his display against United and he said he was fired up and ready to start, especially with a place in France’s EURO 2020 squad on the line. With Bayern Munich coming up in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, surely he has to lead the Chelsea line. With his clever runs and flicks, Giroud linked up defense and attack perfectly. This is just what he does and it is a mystery as to why he hasn’t played more this season.

2. Mourinho’s excuses seep into his players: We get it, Mourinho has been unlucky with injuries with Harry Kane out until April and Heung-Min Son perhaps out for the season. But Mourinho saying that a top four finish this season would be the best achievement of his managerial career was a stretch. That message of negativity filtered into the minds of his Spurs players as the 2-1 scoreline flattered them. Bergwijn and Moura were so isolated and Tottenham’s midfield was totally overrun. Mourinho has done well to push Spurs back into the top four conversation since he arrived but Tottenham, especially defensively, are so far away from being genuine top four contenders.

3. VAR drama rumbles on: Giovani Lo Celso should have been sent off and VAR officials at Stockley Park have since admitted that via BT Sport. His stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta’s leg was a clear case of violent conduct and a lengthy VAR review during the game resulted in the Argentine playmaker staying on the pitch. How is that possible? When you see it you will wince and even thought Azpilicueta slid in, Lo Celso had enough time to pull his foot away from the challenge. One of the worst VAR decisions you will see as the debate about its consistency rumbles on.

Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud – Scored a goal and had a hand in the second as his overall display provided Chelsea with a focal point. Even though his contract is up this summer, expect to see plenty of Giroud for Chelsea between now and then.


Chelsea looked dangerous early on as Giroud went close from a corner as the hosts came flying out of the traps.

They got the goal their fine start deserved as Giroud was denied by Hugo Lloris, Ross Barkley hit the post with the rebound and then Giroud was on hand to tuck home from a tight angle to make it 1-0.

A VAR delay to check if the goal was offside was needed but in his first start since November, Giroud had delivered. Marcos Alonso sent a volley just over as Chelsea were in their groove.

Spurs improved as half time drew closer as Lucas Moura‘s shot deflected over and then from the resulting corner a looping header from Davinson Sanchez was tipped over by Willy Caballero.

Japhet Tanganga almost made the most of a long ball in-behind Alonso but his first touch was just a tad too heavy, as Spurs were hanging in the game despite Chelsea looking the more dangerous.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The second half continued in the same pattern of the first as Chelsea doubled their lead in splendid fashion.

A flowing move which involved all four players brought into the starting lineup by Lampard saw Giroud flick the ball towards Mason Mount who fed Barkley who teed up Alonso to smash home a low shot and send the home fans wild.

Moments after a huge moment of controversy arrived as Giovani Lo Celso appeared to stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta’s leg but after a lengthy VAR check no red card was given as Chelsea’s fans, players and coaches looked on in bemusement.

Tanguy Ndombele then went down in the box as he tried to dribble towards goal but Spurs were so lackluster in attack and Chelsea totally deserved a massive three points as substitute Tammy Abraham went close late on as Lloris saved and Alonso smashed the bar with a wonderful free kick.

Tottenham did pull one back in the 89th minute after substitute Lamela crossed and his effort deflected into the net off Rudiger, but Chelsea never looked likely to cough up another goal late on.