Speaking in his first interview as a Tottenham Hotspur player to L’Équipe, Cameroonian striker Clinton N’Jie looked back on the process that resulted in his leaving Lyon for the Premier League.
So, finally, you join Tottenham and not Arsenal…
I do not know why the president Aulas said those things. I was never scared that my transfer to Tottenham would not be confirmed. I never spoke to Arsenal representatives on the phone, they simply contacted my agent. My choice was made, I was determined to join Tottenham.
What are the reasons for your choice?
Here, I will be working under Mauricio Pochettino, a manager who plays youngsters and allows them to progress. On Thursday, after I arrived in London and had my medical tests, he welcomed me, with the president Daniel Levy, to tell me that he hoped I would be available as quickly as possible. When I arrived in Europe, it was an aim and a dream to play one day in the Premier League.
Do you think you are reaching your goal earlier than you might have expected?
No, I didn’t think it would come as quickly as it has. After that, Lyon wanted the transfer… Tottenham showed themselves to be insistent and it is the club who had the strongest interest.
What will you take with you from your time at Lyon?
There are too many good images in that are crowding my head for me to be able to take just one moment. I will not forget the people who had an impact on my Lyon adventure. For starters, the fans. I read their comments, a lot of them did not want me to leave, that touched me.
Just like the staff. I want to thank the coach (Fournier). If I am here today, it is because of his confidence in me. Also the medical staff, without forgetting my colleagues (on the pitch). Now, the page is turned. This season, my ambition is to do even better than last season.
Just three years after your arrival in Europe, your career has taken quite the turn…
When I first arrived in France, I didn’t speak the language and it was a bit difficult. But I managed to adapt. I fought to learn. Today, I am proud of myself and the progress I have made.
Did you expect to progress so quickly?
Yes, I know what I am capable of and I love to work. In training, I know what I need to work on. Now, the coach Fournier also saw things in me that I did not see myself. He can take a lot of responsibility for my progression. In January, when I returned from the CAN, even though it didn’t go well for me, he continued to give me opportunities. In return, I had just one desire, to give that back to him on the pitch.