Nuno Espirito Santo said of Tanguy Ndombele that “my job here is not to convince players to play for Tottenham Hotspur, it is to prepare players to play for Tottenham Hotspur”.
football.london first revealed early this month that Ndombele was considering his options this summer and he is believed to have told the club once again that he wants to leave.
The Frenchman also admitted to football.london last season that he told friends within his first few weeks after joining Spurs from Lyon that he wanted to leave the club due to the tough nature of Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-season training sessions.
Ndombele then did inform the club of his desire to leave after clashing with Pochettino’s successor Jose Mourinho.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy held a meeting with the midfielder where he explained that the club were not willing to sell their record signing and that they believed that he could be a star with them.
Ndombele knuckled down, improved his fitness and became a regular under Mourinho only to fall out of favour again when the Portuguese was relieved of his duties and Ryan Mason took over the team until the end of the season.
In a summer when the Frenchman has become a father for the first time, he is believed to have indicated his intention once again to leave the club.
However, with the fee Tottenham would demand for a player who cost them around £60m that’s going to be a tough ask in a financially crippled pandemic-hit market.
Ndombele is seen within Spurs as the most naturally gifted player on the books and whoever gets him playing at a high level consistently could end up with one of the best midfielders in Europe.
However, the key is getting him into that position and Espirito Santo has kept him away from matchday squads throughout pre-season and the France international was not registered for the two Europa Conference League play-off legs.
The Spurs boss has previously said that Ndombele was not in the ‘right moment’ to take part in matches and then admitted on Friday that he would not be in his squad for the Premier League clash at Wolves.
“What happened in the past I can’t even think about, I don’t mention out of respect. What I can tell you is that Tanguy is with us, he works but we have to speak honestly and to take the best out of Tanguy has to come from himself,” said Espirito Santo.
“It has to come from himself. I don’t want to go much further than that but it has to come from himself.”
The Portuguese was asked to expand on that a little bit more and he hinted towards Ndombele’s desire once again to leave the club.
“First of all I must speak to Tanguy before even addressing you. We already had a chance to talk but it must come from himself,” he said.
“I said it before – my job here is not to convince players to play for Tottenham Hotspur, it is to prepare players to play for Tottenham Hotspur.”
Ndombele is not the only player looking to move away from Spurs this summer as the Harry Kane saga rumbles on.
The England captain is also yet to be named in a matchday squad and Espirito Santo admitted that it’s not just fitness taken into account when decisions are made.
“Everything, everything, not only with Harry but with all the players. We had issues with the match yesterday. The players are recovering,” he said.
“We have to measure all the things with all the players, and Harry is one more situation where we have to think and decide.”
He added: “He trained well today. He is better than yesterday. It is a growing process. Each day he goes on the pitch he improves his fitness. [Whether he will be involved on Sunday] is a decision we are going to take tomorrow.”
When asked who decides whether Kane will matches, him or Levy, he first answered “me” before altering it: “Sorry. Me and Harry.”
From the latest transfer news to those glorious wins in north London and beyond! There might even be a laugh or two too.
Espirito Santo believes there is plenty to work on at Spurs as he looks to get the club back on track.
“A lot of aspects I think we need to work on. Of course mentality, focus, concentration on all the actions in the game. The basic principles of football, no matter which minute it is in the game. Mentality is one of the main reasons for success,” he said.
“I think [Sunday’s win against Manchester City] is a good starting point. With a lot of things to improve.
“The way the players dealt with the game against City was good, but it still has things to improve. We didn’t start the game well, in the first 15 minutes City had two or three clear chances that could change all that happened after.
“Mentality it’s basic from minute one to the last minute, but it was a good starting point, definitely.”