Tanguy Ndombele

Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Report: Barcelona offer players to Spurs in Ndombele exchange

Leave a comment

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.

[ MORE: PL On this Day: Rooney’s famous volley v. Newcastle (video) ]

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.

[ MORE: Eredivisie cancels 2019-20 season; will not declare champion ]

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.

Mourinho apologizes for training session with Ndombele

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has been forced to apologize after he was pictured conducting a training session with Spurs midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on Hadley Common in London, against government regulations during the coronavirus lockdown.

The British government’s orders specify that outdoor exercising is forbidden with anyone other than oneself or members of one’s immediate household.

“I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household,” Mourinho said in a statement released through the club. “It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.”

In addition to Mourinho and Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon and Davinson Sanchez were also pictured running together in another area of the Hadley Common at the same time, failing to respect the government order or the required social distancing guidelines. Serge Aurier also posted a picture of himself to social media running with another unidentified individual.

“All of our players have been reminded to respect social distancing when exercising outdoors,” a Tottenham spokesperson added to Mourinho’s statement. “We shall continue to reinforce this message.”

“My concern is people, particularly children, who might support Spurs or follow football, may see these images, pick up a paper, watch the internet and think ‘well if it’s ok for them, why isn’t it ok for me?’” said London mayor Sadiq Khan to the BBC Wednesday morning. “I don’t think it is necessary to be training in close proximity with another player who may be carrying the virus. And what you’re doing is inadvertently, unintentionally, potentially spreading the virus – you shouldn’t be doing that.”

Mourinho’s workout with Ndombele is especially notable as Mourinho has harshly criticized Ndombele’s performances in the recent past, most notably after substituting the midfielder off at halftime of Tottenham’s 1-1 draw against Burnley in early March, just before the coronavirus shutdown.

Mourinho in hot water after park training session with Ndombele

Mourinho
Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images
1 Comment

Tottenham Hotspur is said to be “very unimpressed” after Jose Mourinho led a training session for at least one player on Tuesday.

England is currently in lock down with “government-enforced measures meaning people can only go outside for food, health reasons or work if you cannot do it from home.”

Several reports say Mourinho ran Tanguy Ndombele through individual paces while Ryan Sessegnon and Davinson Sanchez jogged separately at Hadley Common in North London.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

“All of our players have been reminded to respect social distancing when exercising outdoors. We shall continue to reinforce this message,” said a Spurs spokesman in the report.

It’s irresponsible at best from Mourinho. Even if he felt he could skirt the government’s rules in a pandemic —  not a good idea at all — he has to have the presence of mind to recognize that he’s one of the most recognizable soccer faces in a soccer-mad country.

 

Mourinho roasts Ndombele after yanking midfielder at half (video)

1 Comment

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.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

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.

FA Cup: Spurs blow lead, erase deficit to top Saints

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the second time in 11 days’ time, Tottenham Hotspur coughed up a lead to Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup, only this time Jose Mourinho’s side was fortunate enough to escape with victory on the back of their own comeback capped off by an 87th-minute penalty kick.

[ MORE: Christian Eriksen blasts Spurs for treatment, trophies ]

From 1-0 up inside the opening quarter-hour, to a 2-1 down with under minutes to go, to 3-2 in a span of nine minutes, Tottenham are through to the fifth round where they’ll host Norwich City.

Spurs went ahead in the 12th minute and appeared to be off to the races. Ryan Sessegnon raced into the penalty area one-on-one with Jack Stephens before losing out and having the ball tackled away, but it fell directly to Tanguy Ndombele just outside the box. Ndombele hit it hard and low, first-time, and straight at Stephens as he returned to his feet. The ball ricocheted off the Saints defender and left goalkeeper Angus Gunn anchored in place.

The lead didn’t even last until halftime, though, as Shane Long put home a rebound after Hugo Lloris made a diving save in the 34th minute. It was Nathan Redmond‘s initial shot which came in from the edge of the area, only to be saved by the outstretch Lloris. He couldn’t hold the ball and no one in a white shirt arrived to clear the ball away before Long reached the top of the six-yard box and slotted it near post.

[ MORE: USMNT MF Duane Holmes scores again for Derby County ]

Saints took their lead on a devastating counter-attack in the 72nd minute. It began with a Spurs corner kick at one end of the field and Danny Ings tucking the ball in the far corner at the other end.

That lead lasted almost no time at all, though, as Lucas Moura had Spurs level within five minutes. Lucas and Dele Alli played a quick one-two outside the penalty area and the Brazilian tucked his left-footed finish home just as well as Ings had done minutes earlier.

Son Heung-min won, and converted, the penalty kick that proved the difference on the day, but it was once again Alli who pulled the strings and set up one of the game’s crucial moments. His through ball came cut Saints’ defense in half and left Gunn with no choice but to rush off his line, though it must be said the contact he made with Son was minimal, if any at all.

Spurs’ fifth-round clash with Norwich will take place back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium midweek on the week starting March 2.