Spurs agree club-record fee for Lyon's Ndombele

France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, beating Bordeaux's Francois Kamano while playing for Lyon in a French Ligue 1 game in April, is Tottenham's No. 1 transfer target. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, beating Bordeaux's Francois Kamano while playing for Lyon in a French Ligue 1 game in April, is Tottenham's No. 1 transfer target. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Tottenham created an unwanted piece of Premier League history by becoming the only club not to have signed a player in the past two transfer windows.

But they have started to make a splash after agreeing a club-record £55 million (S$94.2 million) plus £9 million in add-ons for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, 22.

The fee will eclipse the £42 million they paid for Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez from Ajax in 2017.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has made Ndombele his No. 1 target as he looks to reinvigorate his squad, who finished runners-up in the Champions League and fourth in the Premier League.

He has urged chairman Daniel Levy to do everything possible to get the France international and it appears that the final obstacle to the blockbuster deal has now been cleared.

While Ndombele must still agree personal terms on a long-term contract, that ought not to be a problem, given the will is there from his side to complete the move.

He has already been given a tour of Spurs' training ground, which left him greatly impressed, and has been convinced by Pochettino that the next phase of his career will best be served in north London.

Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has stuck to his guns in recent interviews that Ndombele is worth £67 million and, if the deal proceeds as expected, he will have virtually got his price after weeks of negotiations.

What Spurs will get is a player who can quicken the pulse and mixes skill and electric dribbling with raw power. Ndombele will replace Mousa Dembele, who departed for Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou R&F in January.

Ndombele made 49 appearances in all competitions last term, and was capped six times by France.

He starred in the Champions League as his French Ligue 1 side took four points off Manchester City in the group stage, while also holding Barcelona to a draw in the first leg of their last-16 meeting.

Aulas has also hinted the player looks set to move to England, tweeting "Tanguy is one exquisite boy that we would like to keep, but it is always the player who decides".

In addition to Ndombele, Spurs have also agreed to sign 18-year-old winger Jack Clarke from Leeds for an initial fee of £10 million, with the intention of loaning him back to the Championship club next season.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2019, with the headline 'Spurs agree club-record fee for Lyon's Ndombele'. Print Edition | Subscribe