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“Spurs’ Million-Dollar Miss: Pochettino’s Failure Costs Tottenham £1.5 Million a Pop!”

Tottenham Hotspur are a club like most others in the Premier League, with their fair share of transfer blunders sprinkled throughout history.

While Chelsea is looking to accumulate catastrophes in fast succession, and Everton has stretched them out across the whole reign of owner Farhad Moshiri, Daniel Levy justifies his worst buys on the supporters’ demand for cutlery.

“Maybe you’ll be surprised by my answer, but I want to win as much as everybody else,” the 62-year-old admitted in a recent fan forum. “But the frustration of not winning and the pressure from maybe some players and from a large element of the fanbase, that we need to win, we need to spend money, we need to have a big manager, we need to have a big name, it affected me.”

While his forthright reaction was a surprise admission from the typically silent businessman, it almost appeared if he was absolving himself of responsibility, instead blaming it on the demands of people around him.

However, at the end of the day, he is the one who sanctions the deals and puts the people in place to make those torrid signings, some of which set the club back years.

Who is Spurs’ worst-ever signing?

While many will refer to Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, and Moussa Sissoko as the club’s worst-ever deals, there are more who may go unnoticed owing to their cost not reaching the heights of others, but remain significant pound-for-pound disappointments.

After all, when Tanguy Ndombele was sold for £63 million, there were signs of vitality that explained why they had paid such a high price. His first goal against Aston Villa had fans hoping that their club record signing would usher in a brighter era, but that never happened.

However, with the likes of Clinton N’jie, although hardly breaking the bank to bring him in, the output offered was truly abysmal.

Having emerged through Lyon’s academy as a goalscoring teenage sensation, the year before his north London switch would see the Cameroon international score seven and assist eight as a second string to Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir.

It was a chance worth taking on a young striker who could have kept their front line together for the next decade, but he, like Ndombele, failed and never really showed enough to justify his cost.

In fact, with only 14 appearances in two years at the club, it might be claimed that the 30-year-old never truly got the chance. N’jie, unsurprisingly, failed to score a single goal before returning to France with Marseille.

It is ironic comparing how the current Sivasspor ace triumphantly announced himself to the Lilywhites with how that tenure panned out, as he would note: “I never spoke to Arsenal representatives on the phone, they simply contacted my agent. My choice was made, I was determined to join Tottenham.

“Here, I will be working under Mauricio Pochettino, a manager who plays youngsters and allows them to progress.”

This failed to be the case, and in the end, it proved to be a career massively unfulfilled.

How much did Spurs pay for Clinton N’jie?

Whilst the reported £12m fee might not force the average football fan to look twice, when placing it beside that aforementioned output it does become alarming.

Year Clinton N’jie Market Value, via Transfermarkt Club
2017 €7m (£6m) Marseille
2016 €10m (£8.6m) Tottenham Hotspur
2015 €10m (£8.6m) Tottenham Hotspur
2014 €250k (£216k) Lyon

 

Over the course of a year in which Pochettino welcomed Heung-min Son, Toby Alderweireld, and Kieran Trippier to his team, it is mind-boggling how wrong the Argentine got it with N’jie.

After a dismal stint in Russia, he is now practising his craft in Turkey, a sad fall from grace for a once-clinical frontman who had the world at his feet.

What was Clinton N’jie’s salary at Spurs?

It made sense to lock the 42-cap hero down to a lengthy five-year agreement as an investment in a bright striking future, around the time when Harry Kane was developing through their academy as well.

He would not, however, see out his £38k-per-week deal, leaving after just two years, one of which was spent on loan for the club he would finally join.

Therefore, the marksman would amass a further £1.97m on top of his aforementioned transfer fee, reaching a total outlay of £13.97m. Spreading that figure across the 14 senior showings N’jie mustered, Spurs actually ended up paying a whopping £990k for every appearance he made.

Did Clinton N’jie deserve to earn £38k-per-week?

It is absolutely fair to say that the 5 foot 9 dud failed to come close to commanding the salary he was rewarded with, given such a lack of importance and progression.

Although, the knee surgery suffered within six months of signing hardly aided the trials suffered, ruling him out for months just as he hoped to establish himself in the first team.

With the forward failing to even make a league start for Spurs, and across such limited game time struggle for form, the wage handed to N’jie was far from deserving even if circumstances were unkind to the forward.

In fact, to take that appearance fee and make things even worse, across those short stints on the field, the marksman would actually only manage to accumulate a pitiful nine shots. Therefore, the club did not just pay £990k per appearance, but also £1.5m per shot.

When did Clinton N’jie leave Spurs?

As previously said, N’jie will return to French football in 2017, still bruised from his time in England.

Despite this, he remained positive and enjoyed a brief revival, scoring 10 goals in 22 Ligue 1 appearances. His career, on the other hand, would never be the same.

Speaking since his departure, the former Lyon starlet views his time in north London as a learning period rather than a complete failure, noting: “I don’t regret it,” he said last year. “It’s a choice I needed to make. The club was OK with it. Everyone thought it was a good solution. I acquired a lot of experience during that adventure at Tottenham. It really helped me afterwards, and it still does. Therefore, I have no regrets”

Whilst that may be a positive way of looking at it, the overwhelming negativity surrounding N’jie’s doomed tenure at Spurs cannot be denied.

 

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