Ndombele in Last Chance Saloon at Galatasaray

After making his Champions League debut for Lyon against Manchester City in 2018, Tanguy Ndombele was linked with a move to Real Madrid or PSG. Five years on, he’s on loan at Galatasaray as he desperately tries to get his career back on track and finally fulfil his immense potential.

League title winner

Ndombele is a Serie A winner after spending last season on loan at Napoli. But while he made 30 appearances for Gli Azzurri, many of them were from the subs bench, and he couldn’t really be described as an integral part of the team. The club chose not to take up their option to buy him for £30 million, and he returned to Spurs where he was almost immediately looking for another new team.

Interestingly, he’s actually won more trophies than another recent departee from Tottenham – Harry Kane. But Ndombele will not be so fondly remembered at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Of course, both players will fancy their chances of picking up silverware this season. Look at any online sportsbook and you’ll see that both Bayern Munich and Galatasaray are favourites to win their respective leagues. 

But whereas Harry Kane is embracing a new challenge, Ndombele is in the last chance saloon in Turkey. Fail to impress with his individual performances, and it’s hard to see any of Europe’s major clubs showing an interest in him. It would also cast doubt over Galatasaray taking up their option to sign him on a permanent deal for £15 million.

Where did it all go wrong?

Ndombele’s time in North London got off to a good start. He provided an assist on his club debut in the Champions League and scored on his Premier League bow. His talent was evident, but in a poor season for the club, his attitude was called into question on more than one occasion.

Neither Jose Mourinho nor Antonio Conte were fans of his and, after a bright start, he spent most of his Tottenham career on the periphery of the team. When he did get a chance to display his talent, there was the occasional spark of brilliance. But he never managed to put together a consistent run of good performances.

His first loan spell, back at Lyon, was largely forgettable. Many predicted a return to the site of former glories would see Ndombele kick start his career. In the end, he played 11 times between January and May 2022 without scoring or making any significant impact.

Untapped potential

Nobody has ever doubted Tanguy Ndombele’s ability. For a player with such great technique, 7 caps for his national team is a poor return. He should now be approaching the peak of his career, and no doubt would have expected to have been a regular for France by now.

At the age of 26, he still has plenty of time to make his mark on the footballing world. But it needs to start with a solid season at Galatasaray. If he succeeds, a long-term contract at a top club may well be waiting for him next summer. By then, he’ll have just one year left on his contract and Spurs will almost certainly be willing to let him go. 

Now it’s down to the player. Is he prepared to put in the work and deliver on his untapped potential? Or will he go down in history as one of those who let their considerable talent go to waste?

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