Tottenham have sent a statement of intent by moving close to the £65 million capture of Tanguy Ndombele. The midfielder would break the club’s transfer record just a month after their appearance in the Champions League final. Even though Spurs failed to win the European honour, it was a monumental achievement from Mauricio Pochettino’s team considering that the team had just five campaigns in the Champions League until now.
If the transfer window was to close now, Spurs can truly be considered as the current top dog in North London. The demise of Arsenal from the top four complete with Pochettino’s acute management skills have overseen a shift of power in this part of the capital. Arsenal are reported to have a transfer budget of just £45 million – £20 million less than what it cost for Tottenham to sign Ndombele.
Tottenham were criticised for a lack of ambition in the last transfer window when the club were largely focused on retaining the squad. There were no major arrivals of 2018 at Spurs, who have now spent most of their revenue from the Champions League final. The arrival of Jack Clarke, who is a highly-rated young winger, from Leeds United for around £8.5 million has taken Spurs’ summer spending to record heights. The club are also reportedly keen on bringing Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso, who is valued at £70 million, on the back of a campaign that saw him get 16 goals and six assists.
Yet, a club’s position is not determined by the transfer activity in one summer. If there was any proof of the same, it was seen in the 2018 transfer window.
Just after being appointed as an Arsenal manager, Unai Emery was backed quite significantly in the market with the signings of Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Sokratis, and Matteo Guendouzi. The club spent more than €70 million on these acquisitions. Yet, they did not manage to secure a place in the top four. Arsenal did close a 14-point deficit to Spurs from the 2017-18 campaign as they ended up just one point behind the North London rivals last season.
Spurs have effectively brought in Ndombele as the replacement for Moussa Dembele. Ndombele did have a strong campaign with Lyon as he featured in 34 games for the French club in the Ligue 1 campaign.
Ndombele was even more impressive in the Champions League after managing make more tackles, more interceptions, and less fouls per game than in the domestic season. Yet, this was his breakthrough campaign after moving to Lyon just a year earlier from Amiens. At 22 years of age, Ndombele is still an unknown quantity and the failure of players like Tiemoue Bakayoko – who made the switch from Monaco to Chelsea on the back of a similar breakthrough campaign – is a warning sign for Spurs supporters.
Tottenham have made significant inroads towards strengthening the squad, which was criticised for being very thin at several stages last season. Even though Spurs now hold the advantage over Arsenal, it would be wrong to judge the balance of power between the two clubs on the basis of the transfer window so far.