This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Tottenham Hotspur desperately need Tanguy Ndombele back.
The Frenchman, the club’s record signing, acquired from Lyon in the summer transfer window, was injured for the club’s encounter with Newcastle United on Sunday.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men lost 1-0 in a game that was devoid of energy and inspiration.
Per WhoScored, Tottenham had almost 80% possession in the encounter and yet they could not find a way through the Magpies tightly-packed backline.
Ndombele was missed.
Thus far this season, he has two appearances under his belt and has already emerged as the club’s most dynamic midfield player.
Again per WhoScored, in his two appearances thus far, he averages a key pass per game, one shot per game and a pass completion rate of 86.1%.
He can win the ball back, too, boasting four tackles per game and 1.5 interceptions.
The missing ingredient against Newcastle was a spark, a desire to drive forward with the ball instead of merely focusing on passing it sideways.
Ndombele does that. While he doesn’t quite do it to the same ilk of Moussa Sissoko, he has more technique than his compatriot, a better passing range and, well, simply more dynamism.
His goal against Villa was one that he could well have scored against Newcastle, too; the ball broke to the edge of the box and he curled it into the bottom corner.
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He has the technical attributes needed to unlock a defence, too; in pre-season, his first touch was an assist, an eye-of-the-needle pass against Juventus.
With a game against Arsenal looming, one that Spurs need to win if they are to avoid heading into the international break on the back of two successive defeats, Ndombele’s return cannot come quickly enough.
And really, that is a testament to how quickly Ndombele has adapted to life in England after his switch from Ligue 1.
Already, he is one of the club’s best players.