Who is Tanguy Ndombele? Lyon midfielder linked to Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham

Tauguy Ndombele Lyon
Image: Tanguy Ndombele has been in fine form for Lyon this season

Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham are tracking Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

The 22-year-old is enjoying an impressive season with Lyon and it's not only the two Manchester clubs and Spurs who are monitoring the progress of a player who has been called the "new Michael Essien".

But what would Ndombele bring to the Premier League and where would he fit best? We take a look...

What's his background?

Considering he was reportedly turned down by several clubs as a youngster for being overweight, Ndombele's rise over the last few years has been rapid.

In 2015/16 he was playing in France's fifth tier with Amiens reserve team. The following season he helped Amiens earn promotion into Ligue 1, then he moved to Lyon on an initial loan move at the start of the 2017/18 season.

The deal included an option to buy for eight million euros, which proved to be shrewd business from Lyon after an impressive debut season in the top flight.

Tanguy Ndombele
Image: Ndombele has scored twice in the Champions League this season

What's his position?

Ndombele is a box-to-box midfielder who is powerful, forward-thinking and athletic.

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His arrival at Lyon came in the same summer that Corentin Tolisso left for Bayern Munich. When he was presented as a Lyon player, Ndombele was asked about comparisons with Tolisso.

"We can have similar profiles," he said. "I also like [Gianni] Imbula [former Stoke and Porto midfielder], but I do not have a particular model."

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas described him as the "new Essien".

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Michael Essien of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Br
Image: Ndombele has been compared to former Chelsea midfelder Michael Essien

After his Lyon debut against Paris Saint-Germain, L'Equipe rated him 8/10 and gave him their man-of-the-match award, even though Lyon lost 2-0. "Ndombele, the phenomenon of Lyon," they wrote.

Ndombele started 28 Ligue 1 games in his first season with Lyon and has been a regular in midfield this season. He was one of the standout performers as Lyon beat Manchester City in the Champions League and then drew in the reverse fixture, earning the Sky Sports man-of-the-match award in the 2-2 draw.

His displays against City showed his positive mindset as several times he turned away from trouble in midfield and then played a forward pass. He also carried the ball well and set up two clear chances at the Etihad with incisive passes through the defence.

Tanguy Ndombele
Image: Ndombele shields the ball against Benfica

"Lyon really has a very good team. There are young people full of quality and I think the team is in place tactically…They're one of the toughest teams I have ever faced," said City boss Pep Guardiola after the 2-2 draw in France.

Ndombele's former Amiens coach Christophe Pellissier sums up his qualities well: "He is very good with the ball, dazzles with his shot, breaks lines with the ball at his foot, his technical quality allows him to play more advanced, while his intelligence allows him to adopt a more defensive role."

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If he sounds impressive already, it's worth remembering that he is only 22 so there is plenty of room for improvement.

Where can he improve?

Lyon head coach Bruno Genesio has described Ndombele as "thoughtful and intelligent" and "providing balance" to the team.

Genesio also said earlier this season that the midfielder needs to work on his finishing.

He knows how to do everything in the middle, he is powerful, technical.
France head coach Didier Deschamps on Ndombele

"He has to go one last step in finishing, the only thing he needs to become a great player. He lacks some concentration in the final third but he has the technical quality to do it."

Ndombele is yet to score a Ligue 1 goal for Lyon but has chipped in with six assists last season and four this term, which is more than anyone else in the team aside from Memphis Depay.

He has scored twice in the Champions League and ranked third last season among Lyon players for average key passes per game.

What's his international status?

Ndombele was called up to the France squad for the first time in October, replacing Tolisso in the squad - the same player who he replaced at Lyon.

He came on as a substitute in matches against Iceland and Germany but earned his first start later in the year against Uruguay.

France head coach Didier Deschamps said: "He knows how to do everything in the middle, he is powerful, technical."

Speaking before his call-up, Lyon head coach Genesio had said that Ndombele has "international quality" and added: "Tanguy understands the demands of the highest level and gives himself the means to reach it."

Where would he fit best?

City are clearly in the market for a long-term replacement for Fernandinho and have had the opportunity to see Ndombele in action twice this season when they have faced Lyon.

Pep Guardiola has missed out on moves for Jorginho and Frenkie De Jong, but Ndombele is a far more versatile and adventurous midfielder than the former.

He would be a fascinating addition to the Manchester United midfield alongside Paul Pogba while Spurs saw Mousa Dembele depart in January.

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