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Newcastle leading the way in Tanguy Ndombele race

Newcastle United are believed to be the frontrunners in the race to sign Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, with the Frenchman seemingly set to leave the Lilywhites this summer.

What’s the word?

According to Media Foot, the Magpies are said to be in ‘pole position’ to land the 25-year-old in the coming weeks, albeit with a number of rival suitors lining up to poach the talented Frenchman, including La Liga side Villarreal.

The report suggests that Spurs – who signed the former Lyon man for £63m back in 2019 – are likely to demand a fee of around €50m (£42m) if they are to cash in this summer, with three years still left on the playmaker’s current deal.

The seven-cap menace is seemingly destined to leave after having been frozen out by manager Antonio Conte of late, notably spending the second half of last season on loan at his former club in France.

Howe’s own Pogba

Although the £120k-per-week ace has endured a difficult spell at Spurs, making just 63 Premier League appearances in total across the last three seasons, it is hard to doubt the undeniable, natural talent that he possesses.

Dubbed a “street footballer” by West Ham United skipper Declan Rice for his instinctive, off-the-cuff style and confidence in possession, Ndombele simply oozes class, with there undoubtedly an argument to be made that he hasn’t been handed a fair crack of the whip in north London thus far.

Perhaps burdened by what was a sizeable price tag, Tottenham haven’t truly seen the best of the £27m-rated gem, although there have been notable moments of quality on his behalf in recent times, including a stunning dinked effort against Sheffield United back in March 2021.

That inventive and clever goal led to then-boss Jose Mourinho to praise the 5 foot 11 colossus for his “magnificent” display, with it a crying shame that both the club and the Premier League haven’t seen more of his genius.

Those at St James’ Park will also be interested to learn that he has previously been compared to compatriot and fellow midfielder, Paul Pogba, by former Lyon boss Bruno Genesio, with the pair no doubt sharing a likeness due to their elegant, albeit at times frustrating playing style.

Such comparison may be of concern to Newcastle supporters such was Pogba’s turbulent and at times toxic spell at former club Manchester United, yet the Juventus returnee remains one of arguably the best in his position in world football at his peak.

The statistics further rubberstamp that likeness, with the pair seemingly both demonstrating exceptional dribbling prowess and an undoubted quality to surge forward from their midfield berth while in possession.

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Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson celebrates with Joelinton

How many 2021/22 Premier League goals did Newcastle score?

Both Pogba and Ndombele rank in the top 1% for dribbles completed among their peers across Europe’s top five leagues, at an average of 2.28 dribbles per 90, while they are also closely matched with regards to progressive passes received, with the ex-Red Devils man averaging 3.77 per game, while his international colleague is not far behind with 3.18 per game.

That latter metric simply illustrates their innate knack for taking their side up the pitch with an incisive, forward pass, helping to kickstart attacks with a line-breaking and often defence-splitting pass.

For all the flaws that either man may possess, when in full flight there is simply nothing better than watching two masters at work, with Eddie Howe and co unlikely to shun the chance of having a Pogba-esque figure in his side, such as Ndombele, this season.