Ndombele 'taking a risk' by returning to Lyon after Spurs struggles

By Sports Desk February 02, 2022

Tanguy Ndombele has not tried to shift the blame for his underwhelming Tottenham performances as he accepts he is risking his career by returning to Lyon on loan.

Ndombele was a £55.5million (€62m) signing for Spurs in 2019 but re-joined former club Lyon on Monday in a temporary move that could become permanent for €65m.

The midfielder failed to show in England why Tottenham had invested so heavily in his services.

After creating 47 chances and laying on seven assists in his final season in Ligue 1, Ndombele played only 30 key passes and contributed five assists in two and a half years in the Premier League.

There were mitigating factors, with Ndombele signed by Mauricio Pochettino, who soon left to be replaced by Jose Mourinho. Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte followed.

But the 25-year-old said on Wednesday: "It's not the fault of coaches if I had a little trouble at Tottenham.

"It's the right time for me [to return to Lyon]. For my adaptation, coming back here is the best. I hesitated: I went out through the front door, and coming back I'm taking a risk.

"If I had thought about [it hurting my pride], I wouldn't have come back. I saw the project in front of me, I saw that it was interesting for me, and for the club, too.

"But I don't think that's the easiest option. If there wasn't a good team, I don't think I would have taken that risk."

 

Lyon hope Ndombele is not the only player to return from north London this year, with out-of-contract Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette – who scored exactly 100 Ligue 1 goals for the club, at a rate of one every 150 minutes – a target.

He was one of several former Lyon men referenced as potential signings by Jean-Michel Aulas when presenting Ndombele to the media.

"In our context, [Lacazette] is more affordable than Benzema," Aulas said. "We have to try to see if we can do it as a free player, but we won't be alone."

Aulas also discussed outgoing transfers, with Ndombele set to replace star man Bruno Guimaraes, who departed for Newcastle United.

"Newcastle's first request for Bruno, we refused it," Aulas said. "It seemed logical to us.

"Events made us think differently then. We're happy with the deal, coming out of a difficult pandemic period for all clubs. We turned a weakness into an opportunity."

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