Last week, midfielder Tanguy Ndombele opened up for the first time about his experience leaving Tottenham Hotspur on loan on loan at Napoli, and how he felt he was never given an opportunity to play for Antonio Conte. At the time, I noted past suggestions that Tanguy’s loan for the Serie A league leaders included a purchase clause that could turn into an obligation should Napoli qualify for the Champions League, but noted that these suggestions were unconfirmed.
It turns out there’s a very good reason why those suggestions were unconfirmed — they’re fiction. Alasdair Gold, writing in Football.London, has now written that there does not appear to be a clause in Ndombele’s loan that turns his loan from a purchase option to a purchase obligation. That said, the option remains, and Napoli will have the opportunity to purchase Tanguy for £26.3m at the end of the season if they so choose.
Will they? Well, that’s the question. Ndombele is not a regular starter for Napoli this season — he’s only started nine matches — but has been one of the first midfielders off the bench for Luciano Spaletti’s side and has just under 1000 minutes in all competitions, with two goals and one assist. I am pretty unsure, however, whether that’s enough for Napoli to consider spending £26m on him this summer when there are likely much cheaper options out there for a reserve central midfielder. There is a chance, however, that they could not exercise their purchase option, but attempt to negotiate with Tottenham for a lower purchase price. I have no idea what the likelihood of that is, nor what Spurs’ minimum selling price would be, but it’s a possibility.
If Napoli doesn’t exercise their purchase option or negotiate an alternate sale, that means Tanguy will return to London this summer with a contract that pays him £200k/wk and doesn’t expire until 2025. His Spurs future likely depends on whomever Tottenham hire as their new permanent manager, but my guess that his ship has sailed. If I’m him, I’m probably not interested in sticking around at a place that booted him to the curb and would be looking for another loan or a sale, even of there’s been significant managerial and roster turnover since he was first brought in from Lyon. Stranger things have happened, but if I’m Tottenham I’m likely not counting on spending that £26m from Tanguy’s sale to Napoli on a new permanent goalkeeper, or anything else this summer.