Tottenham open to Tanguy Ndombele transfer exit but player determined to bounce back from Morecambe episode

By Dan Kilpatrick

Tottenham face a challenge to offload Tanguy Ndombele after he was booed off the pitch in Sunday’s FA Cup win over Morecambe.

Spurs are open to offers for Ndombele but remain conscious of the difficulties involved in any deal, and they are set to explore a number of possibilities this month.

Sources close to the French midfielder last night acknowledged that he may have to leave the club in the transfer window, while insisting he was still happy at Spurs and determined to fight for a place in Antonio Conte's team.

Ndombele was booed by sections of the home support as he left the pitch at walking pace after being replaced by Oliver Skipp during yesterday's 3-1 comeback win in the third-round.

Spurs were trailing the League One side at the time but Ndombele refused to speed up his departure, even when cajoled by teammates, and went straight down the tunnel. Sources close to Ndombele said he was expressing disappointment at the scoreline.

The 70th-minute introductions of Harry Kane and Lucas Moura – along with Skipp – turned the game, as Spurs avoided an historic FA Cup defeat to a set up a fourth-round tie at home to Brighton.

Afterwards head coach Antonio Conte urged Ndombele to "change opinions" at the club with improved performances but the afternoon was a nadir in the 25-year-old's turbulent and underwhelming spell in England.

Finding a buyer for Ndombele, who joined Spurs in a club record £55million deal from Lyon in summer 2019, will not be easy, however.

He is one of the club's highest earners on around £200,000-a-week and still has three-and-a-half years remaining on his six-year contract.

Spurs are aware that they are unlikely to recoup anything close to what they paid for Ndombele, particularly in a post-pandemic market, but could attempt to use him in a part-exchange deal. The club may have to subsidise a portion of Ndombele's wages as part of any deal, while they would also consider letting him leave on loan.

Swaps are complicated and unusual, although Spurs used players in the deals for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Bryan Gil, and could offer Matt Doherty as part of a bid for Wolves' Adama Traore, who remains a leading target this month.

Conte refused to criticise Ndombele, despite another disappointing performance and his behaviour as he left the pitch, which is unlikely to have impressed the club's hierarchy.

"You have to be good to try to change opinion[s] if someone is disappointed with you," the head coach said. "It’s normal.

"If we perform well, the fans are happy. If you don’t perform well, the fans are not happy. This is football."

We weren’t sharp or aggressive enough. We didn’t play with enough pressure or intensity.

Morecambe captain Anthony O'Connor fired the Shrimps into a shock first-half lead but Harry Winks equalised with an audacious free-kick in the 74th-minute, before late goals from substitutes Lucas and Kane.

Winks revealed there was "a harsh and honest" dressing-room inquest at half-time yesterday and said it was disappointing that Spurs' second string needed to be bailed out by their star forwards again.

“There is disappointment, it wasn’t good enough - it was sloppy,” Winks said. “We weren't sharp or aggressive enough. We didn't play with enough pressure or intensity. We could have upped our game a lot.

“Half-time, there were a lot of harsh and honest words said. These are the kinds of games where in the first 10 or 15 minutes, you need to settle everybody, settle the crowd and then enjoy the game. We made an enjoyable afternoon into a tough one. We shouldn't have done that.”

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