One of the (many) Tottenham Hotspur stories in the waning hours of the transfer window on Friday concerned Hugo Lloris. Out of Ange Postecoglou’s plans, Hugo had already declared that he was ready to move on from Spurs and head somewhere new for a new chapter with one year remaining on his current Spurs deal.
But he never moved. Hugo rejected approaches from Saudi Arabia and numerous other opportunities, mostly because they wanted him to be a backup keeper and not the main man. Hugo didn’t just want a move, he wanted the RIGHT move.
About an hour before the close of the window, news emerged that Ligue 1 side, Nice, Hugo’s hometown club and where he came through the academy, made an offer to take Hugo. Shortly after came news that he rejected that opportunity to return home, and many of us wondered why. Today, Hugo released a statement in French to Nice-Matin (via Get French Football News) explaining that he turned down the opportunity because he didn’t want to make a rash decision.
“I want to clear up the ambiguity surrounding the events of the past hours. Yesterday, an hour before the end of the window, I received a call from an agent, who evoked the possibility of joining OGC Nice. Playing prospects and the sporting project, the real motors behind a player’s decision, much more so than financial conditions, weren’t clearly broached. My professional journey has shown that exchange, sharing and collective growth have always forged my decisions, even more so when it’s about coming back to the club that trained me. The supporters and the team deserve better than a split-second decision based on a phone call without expectations or a clear sporting project with one hour until the closure of the window at a time where I wasn’t expecting it.
“To be honest, I couldn’t sign without this common shared vision, at least with the president and the coach. OGC Nice is, and will remain a different club for me. It is my city, my club, my blood. [Nice keeper Marcin Bulka] is in place today. He is without a doubt one of the best at the start of the season. He has a promising career ahead of him. Joining a club to play, to build, to perform, yes; signing without a sporting vision and a direct positive impact on the team, no.”
I get it. While moving to Nice (likely without a transfer fee just to get his wages off of Spurs’ books) would’ve been the most ideal situation for Tottenham, I think all fans can agree that Hugo has earned the right to make the best decision for what’s left of his career and for his family. If that means turning down a last-minute approach meant to appeal to his sense of sentimentality and French heritage, then that’s what it means and it makes sense.
My guess is that in the next few days we’ll get a report that Spurs and Hugo have come to a mutual agreement to terminate what’s left of his contract and allowing him to make his own arrangements. That’s fair too. He’s given Tottenham a decade of service, almost all of it at a high level and frequently at a time when the club didn’t deserve a keeper of his quality. The only shame is that he’ll likely never get the send-off from the fans that he deserves.