Tottenham Hotspur are running the risk of missing out on Tanguy Ndombele.
The supremely talented Lyon midfielder has long been linked with a move to the London club and a Daily Mirror report on Thursday claimed that Spurs were willing to break their transfer record to sign him.
However, in the same breath, the report also states that chairman Daniel Levy is not willing to pay his asking price of £71m. They are, nevertheless, said to be confident a deal can be agreed.
And yet one feels that they are playing a remarkably dangerous game.
Telefoot journalist Julien Maynard claims that both Manchester United and Juventus are also in talks with the midfielder and that no agreement has been reached with any suitor as of yet. PSG, naturally, have also communicated their interest, though no bid has been tabled.
The London Evening Standard, in a separate report, claim that Spurs “face a battle to convince” Ndombele, as he favours a move to Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City. Nevertheless, the club are again said to be “confident of reaching an agreement”.
This, though, is a once in a lifetime chance and it cannot be left to fate.
Ndombele is a generational talent, a genuinely world-class central midfielder who could be a game-changing acquisition for a club who have been forced to deal in cast-offs, youngsters and bargains for too long.
At this point in time, Spurs have the money to spend. They may have built a new stadium but they haven’t invested a penny into the playing squad since January 2018 and also have the benefit of the prize money from reaching the Champions League final.
There has been no greater time to invest; it is an old adage but to accumulate, one has to speculate.
Buying Ndombele is the definition of speculating and it feels as though Spurs are approaching a tipping point in their pursuit of the player.
If they leave it too long, a club with considerably greater pulling power could gazump them. Yes, Spurs reached the final, but very few players say no to Real or Barca.
This, then, is not the time for Levy to negotiate. Sometimes, he can feel like the Monty Python market trader, insisting that the buyer haggles despite offering to pay full price.
Now, though, is the time for him to merely slap the money on the table. If Lyon want £71m, he simply has to pay it.
Yes, it’s a massive fee, but Ndombele is good enough to be worth double it in four or five years. And that’s when he could move to a La Liga giant.
Now, though, Levy has to ensure he ends up in north London.