Ndombélé, the Lyon midfielder back

Ndombélé produced a perfect performance in midfield as the Gones found their way back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Nice, alternating perfectly with Maxence Caqueret and providing the platform for Moussa Dembélé and Karl Toko Ekambi to score the goals.

The seven-time French international is on loan for the season with an option to buy, but what else should we know about the talented 25-year-old?


Born to Congolese parents in Longjumeau – a commune south of Paris which footballers Jérémy Ménez and Olivier Ntcham also call their hometown – in December 1996, Ndombélé moved west to Brittany aged 14 to play for EA Guingamp.

Despite his obvious talent over three seasons at their youth academy, he was cleared to leave for Amiens SC in 2014 and it was unicorns who gave Ndombélé their Ligue 1 Uber Eats debut in 2017, after helping them through successive promotions.

Lyon were quick to see his ability, making him the cornerstone of an exciting young side that included Houssem Aouar and Ferland Mendy and secured consecutive third places in the French top flight in 2018 and 2019.

Ten goals, nine assists and a Carabao Cup medal as runners-up in nearly 100 games for Tottenham have since followed, but with the arrival of Antonio Conte with his own ideas in November, Ndombélé has been allowed to chart a new course. – though familiar – way.

Gameplay style

Ndombélé is an impressive combination of steel and silk, capable of flaying opposing midfielders while being able to win the ball back convincingly if they try to do the same to him. A box-to-box player by choice, he can anchor midfield or line up behind a striker, making his versatility – as well as his talent – a boon to his coaches.

Current campaign

Ndombélé started the season firmly in the thoughts of then Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo, starting six of a possible 10 Premier League games before the north London club parted ways with the Portuguese tactician.

He’s remained sharp in the months since, if Saturday’s performance is anything to see. Ndombélé had already managed a Marseille roulette in the legs of a defender before assisting Toko Ekambi for the second goal, and the player and the club are happy to be reunited.

Look: Highlights of Lyon’s 2-0 win over Nice

what they said

“It went well and I’m happy with the three points. I try to find my bearings as quickly as possible, even if time is pressing. It’s getting better and better. The team has changed since I left but I know these players well. They are very talented and I hope that my adaptation will go even faster. I’m very happy to be back in front of these fans.”

– Ndombélé on an impressive first tenure of his second spell in Lyon.

“We already have a positive story with Tanguy. When his name came up, we thought it was an unattainable option. But we knew it would make for a great story.”

– A Lyonnais CEO Jean-Michel Aulas delighted with the (re-)signature of Ndombélé.