Tottenham Hotspur did manage to sign Emerson Royal from Barcelona, but failed with an offer to make Tanguy Ndombele part of the deal.
That’s according to transfer insider Fabrizio Romano, who made the claims on Twitter on Saturday.
Romano believes Tottenham offered Barcelona a deal involving Ndombele or Serge Aurier.
Barcelona said no, so Tottenham paid in cash. Aurier ended up being released and hasn’t yet found a new club.
Emerson started Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace whilst Ndombele was only on the bench.
Difference in valuation
If this was a straight swap, you would have to question Tottenham’s wisdom.
The fee paid for Emerson was around £25.7million, meaning there is almost a £30million difference.
Tottenham may not get their money back for Ndombele now, but sending him in a straight swap would really be an admission of his value diminishing.
Tottenham surely wanted Barcelona to pay cash plus Emerson for Ndombele, but you just never know.
What next for Ndombele at Tottenham?
Ndombele is a frustrating case. He has so much natural ability; his tough is great, he can ghost past players, he’s strong but has a low centre of gravity.
Yet much of Ndombele’s problems at Tottenham come down to application. He just hasn’t put it all together consistently, and four managers have now failed to really unlock him.
Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason and Nuno Espirito. More often than not, all of them went felt that they Tottenham team was better without Ndombele.
Tottenham do though need creativity. Ndombele isn’t a pure number 10, but he can produce moments in midfield.
Nuno may be forced to bring Ndombele back into his Tottenham side – even if only to put him in the shop window for January.