Exclusive - Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is set to complete a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the coming days, despite past interest from the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.
While Spurs and the French outfit have yet to agree a fee - Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas earlier this week scoffed at reports that a £65m agreement had been reached - there is optimism and an expectation that a deal will be done. Talks are continuing between the two parties and there are suggestions that matters could be finalised as early as next week.
Tottenham are safe in the knowledge that they now have what is essentially a free run at a player who has been on the wish list of several of Europe's biggest clubs. As well as United and Juventus, the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been named among the suitors for the 22-year-old in months past.
PSG and City have been out of the running for some time, and while the Italian press has reported a late push from Juventus to hijack the deal, 90min has learned the reasons behind United's decision not to make a serious pursuit of their own.
United, who confirmed the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Saturday, dropped out of the running for Ndombele after learning of Mauricio Pochettino's meeting with the player, and his preference to play his football in London.
Learning of Ndombele's desire to join Spurs, United instead decided to pursue other targets. The likes of Sean Longstaff and Bruno Fernandes have been listed as their primary midfield targets moving forward, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to sign two central players following the departures of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.
It's come as a blow to a section of United fans, who view Ndombele as a perfect fit to bolster their ranks in midfield following his performances for Lyon in the Champions League last season.
Why aren’t Manchester United doing every within their power to sign Tanguy Ndombele?— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) June 25, 2019
Nevertheless, Pochettino is reported by football.london to have won Ndombele over with his promises to make him an important part of the team moving forward, while the desire the Argentinian demonstrated to win the race was also key in Ndombele's decision.
The former Amiens man has felt wanted, and convinced by his likely new boss that Spurs will be challenging for the Premier League title during his stay.
Ndombele visited Spurs' training complex this week after being given permission to do so by Lyon, and all that remains is for the two clubs to agree payment amount and structure - it's believed the deal could be worth around £62m - with potential add-ons raising the cost as high as £75m. It would smash Spurs' transfer record.