Barcelona’s determination to sign Tanguy Ndombele this summer has seen the LaLiga side offer Tottenham the chance to take two of their defensive stars in part exchange, according to a report.
The club-record £65million signing from Lyon last summer has endured an extremely difficult time in the Premier League and has found himself the subject of plenty of those infamous Jose Mourinho tongue-lashings ever since the Portuguese firebrand replaced the far-more relaxed Mauricio Pochettino in the hotseat.
Back in early February, Mourinho said that Ndombele needed to step up and that he was still not ready to play 90 minutes for Tottenham after recovering from injury.
The Tottenham boss has also said in the past that Ndombele is “always injured” and after he missed Spurs’ 2-1 win over Brighton earlier in the season that “he was not injured but not feeling in a condition to play.”
He also singled him out for public criticism following the 1-1 draw against Burnley last month.
“We had to make decisions about the team. I trusted some players to give the team what we need – energy, quality and freshness,” Mourinho told BBC Sport after hauling the player off at half-time.
“I didn’t get the answer from all of them so at half-time I had to go back to the ones that I know.”
Asked whether the two players that came off were the players under-performing, Mourinho replied: “I think one is a kid of 19 years old [Skipp]. He was not bad. It’s not a kid of 19 years old that has the responsibility to be the point of connection.
“From Tanguy, of course, I think with the quality he has he must have more responsibility in doing to the team what the team needs from a midfield player with his quality.”
Understandably, that has led to some strong speculation that Ndombele will be shown the door this summer, with both PSG and Barcelona strongly linked with his signature.
Of the two, it seems Barca’s interest is the more genuine, with Sky Sports this weekend reporting that they are willing to do whatever they can to lure the French midfielder to the Nou Camp after deciding they wanted to add his muscle and box-to-box abilities to their midfield.
As such, they claim the LaLiga giants have offered Spurs both centre-half Samuel Umtiti and right-back Nelson Semedo in a straight swap for the midfielder and in a bif to tempt Spurs into business.
Umtiti has endured a miserable 18 months at the Nou Camp, with the 26-year-old plagued by knee problems which have restricted his game time.
Indeed, the centre-back made only 15 appearances last term and has made 16 so far this time round and has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League.
And with Barca willing to sell all but three members of their squad to help with their rebuilding plans, links with Umtiti and Mourinho do make sense, given the Spurs boss was chasing him while manager of Manchester United.
Semedo, meanwhile, is another who looks to be up for grabs this summer. The Portuguese full-back, despite being a regular in the side this season, has already been offered to Inter Milan as part of Barca’s plans to sign Lautaro Martinez.
And reports on Friday claimed the LaLiga giants look ready to cash in on the former Benfica man with his agent, Jorge Mendes, actively looking to move Semedo on.
If the report proves accurate, it would give Tottenham plenty to think over Ndombele’s future, despite previous claims they want to stand by their record signing and give the former Lyon man another season to bed in at the club.