Tottenham Hotspur spent a club-record fee of £54 million on France international midfielder Tanguy Ndombele in the summer of 2019, but the former Lyon star struggled to impress in his debut season at the North London side, with injuries and a fallout with head coach Jose Mourinho frustrating his first year in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old was linked with an exit during the last summer transfer window, with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich all said to be keen on him.
Ndombele was also more than happy to leave Tottenham following his struggles on and off the pitch in the English top-flight, and the Frenchman has revealed that he did approach Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to ask for an exit.
“To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t know how close I was to leaving,” Ndombele told the Guardian.
“What I know is that I did want to leave. I spoke about this with people at the club and, particularly, with the chairman.
“He said he didn’t want me to leave and, definitely, that’s something that helped. He looked me in the eyes and said to me: ‘The problem is that you’re stubborn.’”
Given the huge financial blow that the coronavirus pandemic dealt clubs, suitors were not going to part with £54 million for the signature of the Tottenham midfielder, and Levy was not ready to make a loss on his most expensive signing ever just after one season.
Ndombele has since turned his fortunes around this season, missing just two of Spurs’ 24 Premier League games, scoring thrice and weighing in with an assist.
The midfielder has successfully established himself as a key cog in Mourinho’s team and is now one of the Portuguese’ most important players.
Ndombele will now look to force his way into the plans of the French national team selectors ahead of this summer’s European Championships, and he will most likely do so if he keeps impressing like he has done since the start of the campaign.