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Tottenham deal with Marseille for N’Koudou could turn into a loan

Contradicting French media reports are saying that the transfer collapse is either Daniel Levy’s fault, or that it’s still possible to bring GKN to Tottenham on loan. I know, it’s weird.

France v USA - International Friendly
There are still no photos of Georges-Kevin N’Koudou in Getty, so here are fans waving French flags.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

There are all kinds of weird rumors floating around the French media regarding the nearly-scuppered deal between Tottenham Hotspur and Marseille for Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. Earlier this week reports came out that the deal was near collapse after talks broke down between Spurs officials and the new ownership of OM. But now there are conflicting reports, one in L’Equipe and one in Le Phoceen, that suggest alternate theories and where the transfer might go from here.

Let’s start with Le Phoceen, a French sports paper and tabloid, but one that is decent when it comes to Marseille news. In this version of events, Spurs and Marseille had agreed to an fee of €13m for the transfer of N’Koudou, but it’s implied that Daniel Levy attempted to take advantage of the power vacuum caused by the departure of Vincent Labrune at OM by reducing the fee to €5m plus a series of escalators. The implication is that the collapse of the deal is entirely Daniel Levy’s fault, and there’s barely contained antagonism in the Le Phoceen story.

But then there’s L’Equipe (paywall, but summarized by Foot Mercato), which more or less contradicts the report in Le Phoceen and says that while the original deal to bring N’Koudou to Spurs had collapsed, the two sides are still talking and are now considering a deal that would bring N’Koudou to Spurs this season on loan with an option to buy of €13m next summer. It’s also implied that this deal is independent of the loan for Clinton N’Jie, who has supposedly returned to Spurs and is now training again with the first team.

Spurs don’t bring in players on loan very often, so this feels weird to me. However, if N’Koudou really is a high-value target for Spurs, they may feel it’s worth taking a loan with a deferred payment. And in fact, this might be preferred to Tottenham, assuming that the option to buy isn’t mandatory -- it’s basically a season-long trial. What I don’t understand is what Marseille would get out of it, especially if they don’t get Clinton N’Jie as part of the deal.

Confused yet? I know I am. There are a lot of moving parts on this right now. It’s unclear what has happened and what will happen. But one thing we’re pretty sure of is that this story is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Yay transfer season!