Tottenham’s record-signing Tanguy Ndombele admitted that he wanted out of the club over the summer, only for chairman Daniel Levy to intervene.
The France midfielder struggled to adapt after his £55million move from Lyon in 2019. So much so that he appeared not to have a future in north London when he played just 64 minutes of Premier League action following Project Restart.
Barcelona were ready to make a move for the 24-year-old, while Spurs considered Philippe Coutinho and Nelson Semedo in exhange.
However, Jose Mourinho refused to give up on the talented midfielder though. Indeed, the pair met up for a park training session during lockdown to boost the player’s fitness.
The Daily Express reports that Ndombele held crunch talks with Levy over his future, with the pair trying to ‘get to the bottom of his underwhelming form and lack of self-esteem’.
Spurs’ persistence has paid off, however, with Mourinho reaping the rewards of a different Ndombele this season.
He has comfortably been one of the club’s best performers, but admitted things could have turned out very differently.
“My first season was tough, I questioned myself a lot, now the page is turned,” he told TF1.
“It is true that at a certain moment I wanted to leave, I didn’t feel in the right place. I told them I wanted out. They didn’t want me to go.”
In the Amazon Prime series All or Nothing, Ndombele told Levy that he was struggling with life in London.
“For three months I trained hard. Everybody says I trained really well. But if I don’t play it means there must be something else,” Ndombele said last season when frozen out of the side.
“I’m not concentrating as I should be. I am not 100 per cent. I’m a fighter. I’ve always fought. I’m here today because I fought. I have never given up in football or in life.”
Mourinho pays credit to Ndombele
Following Ndombele’s incredible lobbed goal in the recent 3-1 win at Sheffield United, Mourinho paid tribute to the player’s new found focus.
“It’s the player’s mentality, the player’s will to train hard, the player’s will to be available for the team, the player’s desire to win, to earn/work a place in the team. And the player is the most responsible,” Mourinho said.
“Mr Levy’s responsibility, in my opinion, is some but is minimal compared with the player. But it’s true, Mr Levy believed in the player and pushed the player. In some conversations they had, that the door was open for him.
“And to me it’s always the same: the door is always open. But the player cannot expect for me to go and bring him.
“It has to be for the player to walk through that door, and come in the direction of what the team needs from him. So total credit for Tanguy, and I think also Mr Levy deserves some.”