Tottenham Hotspur have apparently agreed on a fee to sign Georges-Kevin N’Koudou from Marseille today, but there’s another deal mentioned in passing that is also significant: Spurs forward Clinton N’Jie appears to be heading in the opposite direction.
L’Equipe is reporting today that N’Jie is very likely heading back to Ligue 1 with Marseille on a year-long loan, pending final negotiations. Significantly, the French daily is also reporting that OM have an option to buy for the Cameroonian inside forward, which means there’s a very real chance we might never see Clinton play in a Tottenham shirt again.
With this loan, it’s the clearest indication that Spurs have apparently given up on the idea that Clinton can be an effective contributor in a Champions League-caliber Tottenham team. In retrospect, the signing of Vincent Janssen also may have been a bellwether to this move; despite some Spurs fans thinking of Clinton as primarily a winger, he was signed more as a combination inside forward and striker. With Janssen presumably having a stranglehold on the backup striker position and Son Heung-Min as an emergency third option, perhaps we all should’ve seen this coming.
Still, this feels a little weird to me. Clinton wasn’t fantastic in the few matches we saw him play last season, but he was also hindered by a major injury that saw him miss significant time. His upside is still really high, and it seems a shame that we may never get to see if he could’ve developed into a significant contributor to Tottenham.
Meanwhile, N’Koudou’s transfer feels a bit like shuffling the deck chairs. He looks like more of a traditional winger than an inside forward, which is fine if that’s what Mauricio Pochettino wants, but it feels odd considering Spurs haven’t really utilized that kind of player into their offensive system, and actually sold their last outright winger – Andros Townsend – to Newcastle in January.
In Poche we trust, but this is kind of an odd development.