Whilst Tottenham’s Premier League season has taken somewhat of a downturn in recent weeks, the one shining light throughout the campaign has been the emergence of the real Tanguy Ndombele.
The Frenchman showed flashes of his enormous talent in his debut campaign in English football following his big-money move from Ligue 1 giants Lyon – his long-range strike on his first top-flight start against Aston Villa is a testament to that.
However, he seems to have really knuckled down this season, and his haul of six goals and three assists in 29 games has surely delivered a reminder to Spurs fans that they have a really top player on their hands.
But, Ndombele could really be unleashed by Mourinho, if Spurs actually end up bringing in another midfielder. Namely, Juventus star Aaron Ramsey.
The 61-cap Wales international of course has some history with Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal, but his ability to break the lines and make runs beyond the striker could be the key to unlocking Ndombele’s rich creative talents.
Arsene Wenger raved about Ramsey’s ability to get into the box and find himself on the end of moves, saying: “In my head Ramsey was going to be a player between 10 and 15 goals a year. He is a Frank Lampard type. He is (about) getting in the box and he has a huge capacity to run. Physically, he has a combination of stamina, power and his capacity to repeat high intensity is certainly the best in the league.”
That kind of midfield running and dynamism is exactly what could allow Ndombele to further thrive. Since moving to Spurs, his key passes per game have considerably dropped from his time at Lyon – in his two main seasons in the French league, he never dipped below 1.3 key passes per game, but at Spurs, that number has fallen by more than half to 0.6.
The fact that even in this breakout campaign his key passes are still incredibly low – even Matt Doherty has managed the same amount – is more of an indication of how the set-up around him isn’t tuned to getting the best out of him.
Ndombele’s driving runs and cute passes desperately need midfield runners alongside him, instead of just Heung-min Son and Harry Kane having to do the bulk of the movement and goal-scoring.
Speaking a couple of years ago, French football journalist Julien Laurens, said: “Everything he does is forward – there aren’t many sideways passes. The first thing on his mind is going forward, with a pass that can break a line or beat two or three players with a dribble because he’s so good carrying the ball.”
Having a player like Ramsey in the engine room would open the game up for Ndombele and give him another option to pick out when Spurs find themselves on the attack, and that could be a real game-changer for Mourinho.
Not only would it help raise Ndombele’s game even further, but it would also ease the pressure on the backs of both Kane and Son. A move for Ramsey could work wonders on so many levels.