Tanguy Ndombele has stated that he “wanted something else” after departing Tottenham and sealing a return to Lyon on transfer deadline day.
Joining Spurs for a club-record fee in the summer of 2019 after excelling for the French side, the midfielder showed his undoubted quality in glimpses at Tottenham but unfortunately couldn’t find his top form on a consistent basis.
Playing in 14 games for Mauricio Pochettino before the Argentine lost his job as Spurs boss in November 2019, the 25-year-old then worked under Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte before joining Lyon on loan at the start of the week.
Impressing in patches under Mourinho last season, Ndombele struggled for regular action under the other three managers and a January exit always looked set to be on the cards.
Speaking at his official presentation as a Lyon player on Wednesday afternoon, Ndombele opened up on his return to the Groupama Stadium and his time in north London.
“I didn’t hesitate for long. The discussions were quick. I’m happy to be back,” he explained, as reported by RMC Sport.
“I’ve known five coaches in two and a half years. It’s not their fault but I had a little trouble at Tottenham. I wanted something else. Lyon, as I know, is better for adaptation.”
Joining Lyon on a temporary basis until the end of the season, the French side do have the option to make his loan move permanent come the summer for £54million.
Given the uncertainty over what comes next in Ndombele’s career, the French international has made it clear that his Spurs career is not over just yet.
“Tottenham is not over, I still belong to the club,” he added. “I did not have any pressure with the amount of my transfer.”
Ndombele may have returned to Lyon earlier in the week but he was heavily linked with French side Paris Saint-Germain, a move that would have seen him reunited with Pochettino.
Asked about PSG’s interest, he said: “Discussions with a lot of clubs but a gap between words and action.
“I have three and a half months before the end of the season and Lyon is not bad for me. I left through the front door and it’s a risk to come back. I took that risk.
“I think I’m a better player than when I left. I learned in England even though it didn’t go well. I’m better physically and mentally.”
He added: “I’m ready to play, I trained well at Tottenham. I don’t have time to wait and you have to get used to it quickly. I took the risk of tarnishing my image here by coming back. I’m ready to take it.
“I don’t react to pride but I saw Lyon’s project. It’s interesting for me and for Lyon too.
“Lyon is not the easiest option for me. It’s not easy to come back for three and a half months.”
Ndombele was joined at the press conference by fellow new signing Romain Favre, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, director of football Vincent Ponsot and technical advisor Bruno Cheyrou.
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When asked about Ndombele’s return and the purchase option in his contract, Ponsot revealed that it was the player himself who wanted it included in the deal.
“Tanguy gave real sporting arguments on his choice. He was quickly attached to the project and he made an effort on the contractual level,” he explained.
“Tanguy has a salary worthy of the Premier League and he made an effort after those of the club to sign him. There were facts in front of the words.
“The purchase option, it was Tanguy who wanted it and the amount was negotiated at the height of our valuation of the player.”