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Ndombele: “no other solution” but to leave Tottenham on loan

In his first comments about Spurs since leaving on loan, Ndombele says Antonio Conte never gave him a chance.

Tanguy Ndombele of Ssc Napoli looks on during the Serie A... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tanguy Ndombele might be the very last current Tottenham Hotspur players that Spurs fans want to hear from at the moment, but he’s in the news today for a pretty interesting reason. The French midfielder, currently on loan at Napoli this season, has finally opened up about his departure from Spurs as well as his future at the club in quotes given to So Foot, as reported by Gianluca DiMarzio.

Ndombele is being used sparingly for the runaway Serie A league leaders this season, with just over 650 minutes of action, mostly coming as a second half substitute. In his comments, Ndombele says that he really didn’t have any choice but to leave Spurs on loan, and that he was basically written off by (now former) manager Antonio Conte at the beginning of this season.

“There was no other solution with Tottenham and I am happy to have chosen Naples. With Conte there was no choice, I wanted to demonstrate my value on the field but I was on the margins of the group, I was informed from the first day with the team.”

Ndombele went on to say that he doesn’t know what will happen to him after his Napoli loan concludes, but hinted that things aren’t perfect in Italy either.

“I don’t know what my future will be, many fans ask me to go back to Tottenham but the clubs will decide and Napoli has an option to purchase. I don’t mind being on loan here, but sometimes I see that footballers are treated more as goods than as people”.

Tanguy also addressed the criticism that’s been levied at him, both at Spurs and elsewhere, that he’s a player who doesn’t look like he’s playing hard.

“Listless? It’s a label I’ve always had, from school to field. But this is not the case, on the contrary I constantly work to improve.”

It’s an open question as to whether Napoli will exercise their right to purchase Ndombele. There were disputed reports earlier this year that Napoli’s purchase option would become an obligation should they qualify for the Champions League, but those are as of yet unconfirmed; Ndombele’s comments seem to suggest there’s no obligation.

Far be it from me to re-open the can of worms that is Ndombele Discourse™ on this website, but there is a sizable non-zero percent chance that Tanguy is going to return to Spurs this summer. Would he be reintegrated into the team under a new manager, whether that be Mauricio Pochettino (who signed him in 2019) or someone else, or has that ship sailed? Many Spurs fans appear done with him, but that said Tottenham will likely be in the market for creative central midfielders, and he, along with Giovani Lo Celso, are two players that fit that mold and that Spurs already own.

What is clear is that Ndombele obviously didn’t fit into the tactics of either Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte, which is why he was basically told to fuck off at the beginning of this season. There’s a lot of open questions about his future, but at this point I’d be very dubious that he’ll be at the club wearing a Spurs shirt when the 2023-24 Premier League season begins.