Multiple reports, including one from the Guardian, have confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur have agreed to a fee for the transfer of Marseille winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. The fee is reported to be €13m (£10.8m), representing a tidy profit for l’OM who signed Nkoudou from Nantes for €1.5 million last season. The Guardian believes Nkoudou will travel to London within the next 48 hours to complete a medical and finalize personal terms.
The signing of Nkoudou could mark the end of Spurs chase of other attacking midfielders, specifically Mario Gotze, Sofiane Boufal, and possibly Georginio Wijnaldum. Nkoudou—who excellent blog French Football Weekly tabbed as one of the top 50 youngsters in Ligue 1—is a pacey attacker who operates primarily on the left wing. After not scoring much at Nantes, Nkoudou broke through last season with 10 goals and 5 assists in all competitions. Expected goals and Expected assists like his performance a bit less (3.5xG/3xA, according to Michael Caley), but last seasons OM team was so dysfunctional that I think it’s hard to read to much into those numbers.
Any reported deal for Nkoudou is, of course, interesting for the knock on effect it has on players currently in the team. On it’s face, the players most directly affected by the deal are Clinton N’jie and Josh Onomah. The three are all young, pacey dribblers capable of beating their man and scoring goals. Having two in the squad is probably fine, but all three seems excessive.
The Guardian believes that OM are interested in taking Clinton on loan for the season, which makes sense as a way for Spurs to hold on to his potential while also ensuring he gets regular minutes. Onomah, meanwhile, could find himself further down the pecking order, especially since he’s missing a decent chunk of preseason while playing with the England U-19 team. Sales of other attacking midfielders like Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard could ease a bit of the log jam in the attacking band, but still leaves Spurs with three largely similar players in the squad.
Honestly, I’m not sold on Nkoudou, especially since we already have Clinton. Sure, Clinton is almost 2 years older than Nkoudou and has yet to tally double digit goals in a season, but we did just drop €12 million on him 11 months ago. This signing does represent another depth signing for Spurs though, as they continue to stockpile young talent that can play serious minutes for the club this season. So, that said, I trust Pochettino and Paul Mitchell.