In recent years, Tottenham Hotspur have somewhat struggled to bring in adequate attacking talent who could both provide backup to and competition for the club’s first-choice centre-forward Harry Kane, also failing to substantially strengthen the wide attacking positions of their squad.
Indeed, with Bryan Gil, Dejan Kulusevski, Carlos Vinicius, Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, Jack Clarke, Fernando Llorente, Moussa Sissoko, Vincent Janssen, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, Clinton N’Jie and Son Heung-min making up all of Tottenham’s attacking additions over the past seven seasons – costing the club a total of £179.64m in transfer fees – only Moura and Son have proved to be long-term successes in north London, although Kulusevski appears to be heading on the right path to join this select club.
However, in the same season in which Daniel Levy parted with £12.69m to sign Lyon winger N’Jie – a player who went on to make just 14 first-team appearances for Spurs before being sold to Marseille for a 50% loss just two years later – it appears that Daniel Levy missed a golden chance to snap up a generational attacking talent in the shape of Kylian Mbappe.
Tottenham are believed to have become aware of Mbappe when the then-16-year-old forward came on as a second-half substitute in Spurs’ 4-1 Europa League victory over AS Monaco back in December 2015, a fixture in which the Frenchman provided Stephan El Shaarawy with the assist for Monaco’s goal.
Tottenham then instructed scouts to travel to France and take a closer look at the teenager, but the club’s representatives were informed that, despite Mbappe being available for a £450k compensation fee, the youngster’s intentions were to sign professional terms with the Monegasques, which ultimately led to Spurs pursuing other targets.
Anyone with a slight interest in football will not need it explaining just how impressive Mbappe has been since then, with the now-23-year-old having already scored 185 goals and registered 94 assists over his 268 club appearances in all competitions, along with being valued at £144m by Transfermarkt – ranking the talent who Neymar dubbed a “golden boy” as the most valuable player in world football.
Tottenham’s efforts may well have been in vain, but should Levy have offered Monaco the money he spent on N’Jie – and Mbappe a salary similar to the £38k-per-week that N’Jie was earning – it could well have been enough to have convinced the France international of a move to north London. That is something the Spurs chairman will undoubtedly regret deeply.