What’s wrong with Tanguy Ndombele? Tottenham are still searching for answers

Tottenham spent big money on Tanguy Ndombele to be the new star of their midfield. Instead, he’s been Jose Mourinho’s whipping boy as of late.

Tanguy Ndombele has the talent to be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Unfortunately for Tottenham, his lack of fitness makes him a passenger for Spurs at the moment.

His lack of impact against Burnley on Saturday forced Jose Mourinho to haul him off the pitch after just 45 minutes of action. The Portuguese gaffer didn’t hold back in his criticism of the French midfielder after the match either. He bluntly stated that Ndombele has to “give more” than he’s giving the squad at the moment.

In many ways, Ndombele’s perplexing form has been emblematic of Tottenham’s struggles in recent weeks. He shows glimpses of astounding quality as he glides around the midfield with the ball at his feet. Moments after those rare moments of quality, he loafs around the pitch without a modicum of the energy needed to succeed in England’s top flight.

The most obvious question to ask about Ndombele’s form is whether or not he’s in the proper shape to succeed. A simple look at the player reveals that he seems to be carrying a bit too much weight on his modest frame. It’s hard to understand how he can’t manage to round his way into playing shape though. Neither Mourinho or former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino are known for lax training regimens.

It’s believed that some sort of injury concerns have attributed to Ndombele’s inability to get into prime playing shape. While that may be true, the expiration date on that excuse is running out. He’s been cleared to play for first team football for several weeks. At the very least, his energy levels should be improving. His ugly 45 minutes at Burnley show that clearly isn’t the case.

As such, it’s clear something is wrong with Ndombele’s motivation. Perhaps that can be chalked up to the difficult adjustment from French to English football. With all due respect to Ligue 1, it lacks the athleticism that the Premier League features in its midfield. Ndombele seems to be feeling that pressure acutely between the ear.

Add all of the player’s struggles up and it’s clear that his future at Tottenham is in serious question. Mourinho won’t have a massive budget to use to revamp his squad this summer if Spurs fail to achieve Champions League qualification. That means he’ll need to sell big name players to generate funds.

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Ndombele could easily find himself on the chopping block if he continues to struggle. Mourinho won’t care about his prodigious potential if his production continues to be minimal. Tottenham’s high-priced signing must find his feet quickly if he wants to secure a future in North London.