Roma boss Jose Mourinho could raid Tottenham for one of the players who has not coped well since his departure, according to reports in Italy.
Tottenham sacked Mourinho in April and eventually replaced him with Nuno Espirito Santo. Somewhat surprisingly, the Special One then took up the job at Roma. It marked his return to Italian football after a previous successful spell with Inter Milan.
After assessing his newly inherited squad, the ex-Spurs boss quickly realised he needed a new midfielder. Granit Xhaka of Arsenal was his top target, but Roma refused to meet the asking price. Ultimately, they could not find a worthwhile alternative.
Mourinho is still looking for a midfielder and will return to the market in January. In doing so, he could cast his gaze back towards north London – this time to his former employers at Tottenham.
According to Calciomercato, there is a chance that Roma could pursue Tanguy Ndombele in the winter.
Ndombele was frozen out by Nuno in pre-season and seemed destined to leave in the summer. He remains at Spurs’ disposal though and now has four appearances to his name this season.
Even so, his long-term future remains in doubt. He is still linked with a move away, with clubs such as Juventus and even Manchester United linked.
But Calciomercato believe Mourinho’s Roma could provide a somewhat surprising solution.
In fairness, Ndombele’s best run of form at Tottenham came in the months prior to Mourinho’s dismissal. But it is debatable whether he is exactly the profile of midfielder the Italians are looking for.
They need someone; Mourinho has only used Jordan Veretout and Bryan Cristante as his starting double pivot in all six of his Serie A games in charge of Roma so far. It seems he does not trust the other options available to him.
Therefore, Ndombele could get more gametime with Mourinho at Roma than he is achieving at Tottenham.
The Frenchman said he had a “good relationship” with Mourinho back in February, despite admitting it was “never nice” to hear “public criticisms”.
A couple of months later, the coach said of his then-player: “Tanguy is the kind of guy who you always expect more than what he gives you, because he is so talented that you always expect more.
“More because the talent is amazing. You know I think by the talent point of view, by the creation in midfield, by the vision, he is second to nobody at this moment in European football.
“But the feeling is always that he has something more to give. He never reaches the limits of the effort, the sacrifice, even the ambition.
“So he is the guy that I love him as a player but frustrates me a little bit because I think he can be much better, much better than what he is.”
Ndombele under fire at Tottenham
Despite taking some steps to regain his role in the team, Ndombele was recently criticised by pundits after Tottenham’s game against Wolves in the Carabao Cup.
It was the first time the 24-year-old has completed 90 minutes this season. But there was a stark contrast between his performances in either half.
As per WhoScored, Ndombele had 64 touches in the first half – more than any other player – as Spurs went in 2-1 ahead at the break.
But the enigma managed just 23 touches after half-time; he also made 30 fewer passes (42-12), attempted fewer dribbles (5-2) and lost possession five times, as opposed to just twice in the first 45 minutes.
His inferior second-half display prompted pundit Alex McLeish to criticise the midfielder.
McLeish told Football Insider: “If those are the stats then people will pick the bones out of that and say he needs to be more fit.
“I don’t know the way he works, the kind of level, that’s for the sports science team.
“They have to get him to a level where if he’s going to produce statistics like that in the first half, the manager will be wanting that for the whole game.
“You can’t say: ‘I’ve got this guy for 45 minutes and then I’m going to take him off because he doesn’t run about in the second half.’
“That is for the sports science guys to get him to a level of fitness where you’re getting top drawer, 90-minute performances.”