PARIS (AP) — Forget Neymar and Kylian Mbappe signing for Paris Saint-Germain. The real transfer market coup has been managed by Lyon this summer when the seven-time French champion recruited Tanguy Ndombele on the final day.
The powerful 20-year-old midfielder, who played in the fifth division just a year ago, joined from Amiens on loan with an option to buy worth 8 million euros.
Lyon travels to Angers on Sunday and Ndombele has been one of the revelations in the French league so far this season. He made his debut with Lyon two weeks ago against PSG. Although Lyon lost 2-0, Ndombele impressed against the galaxy of PSG stars.
Ndombele was praised for his versatile performance and relentless efforts, drawing comparisons with former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien. At the Parc des Princes, he started alongside Lucas Toussart and the pair played a decisive role in holding the midfield together. The versatile Ndombele also created danger upfront and unleashed a superb long-range strike that rattled the crossbar, almost breaking the deadlock before two late own-goals sealed Lyon’s fate.
“Tanguy is excellent with the ball, he has the ability to break lines and his technical qualities enable him to play high on the pitch,” said Christophe Pelissier, his former coach at Amiens who failed to convince club officials not to sell him.
The rise has been a shock for Ndombele, who managed to bounce back after Guingamp decided not to keep him at its academy three years ago. He moved to Amiens, where he signed his first professional contract in October last year. After a few matches with the reserves, he largely contributed to the main team’s promotion to the top flight, with two goals and seven assists in 27 games.
Now a member of the France under-21 team, Ndombele was courted by several European sides, with German club Hoffenheim reportedly offering more money than Lyon for his services.
“But he refused to leave for Germany because his main goal was to continue his progression in France,” Pelissier said.
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