It was a day of redemption for Spurs fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
There were no prizes for guessing who scored the only goal of the game as the Nuno Espirito Santo era began with a 1-0 victory over the Premier League champions. Son Heung-min has now found the net seven times in 14 games against Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli brought to mind a famous Emily Dickinson quote.
Action is redemption.
Sanchez and Dier dominated at the back, Bergwijn ran City ragged on the counter while Alli, one of the division’s most enigmatic footballers, looked reborn in a tough-tackling, box-to-box role.
The much-maligned foursome did their talking where it mattered – on the pitch against the best team in the country.
And we can only imagine what Tanguy Ndombele thought as Spurs produced one of their finest performances in recent memory without him.
As Nuno looks to build his new-look Spurs side on a foundation of effort and honest endeavour, there was no place in the squad for perhaps the team’s most technically gifted footballer. A man who could thread the eye of a needle from 50 yards but lacks the grit to match his guile.
Two years after becoming Spurs’ all-time record signing, Ndombele increasingly resembles a £53 million millstone – out of favour, out of sight and considering his future with just two weeks of the transfer window remaining (The Athletic).
Tanguy Ndombele out, Dusan Vlahovic in at Tottenham?
By the time 1 September rolls around, Ndombele’s status as the most expensive footballer in Tottenham’s history might belong to another man.
If Spurs are serious about signing Dusan Vlahovic – the most exciting young striker in world football not called Erling Haaland – they will need to outbid Atletico Madrid. And that will be easier said than done.
The La Liga champions have agreed a £60 million deal with Fiorentina. If Tottenham offer more, that would see Vlahovic scrub Ndombele out of the history books, the second record-breaking signing Daniel Levy has signed off in the space of two years (Corriere dello Sport).
And while there were always nagging doubts about Ndombele’s suitability – a lack of work rate had been highlighted during his time in France – there should be no such concerns about Vlahovic.
Don’t let that self-appointed ‘new Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ nickname fool you. Vlahovic has the ability to back up his supreme self-confidence, while a new-found maturity saw him emerge as the free-scoring talisman of a Fiorentina side that spent much of last season flirting with relegation.
The similarities with a young Harry Kane – Vlahovic is fearsome physically while blessed with a grace that wouldn’t look out of place at a Tchaikovsky ballet – are unlikely to go unnoticed, even if the Serb can’t yet dictate the play from deep like the England captain.
According to Sky, Tottenham plan to better Atletico’s bid for Vlahovic after Nuno gave a deal the green light. That means they are willing to pay £60 million-plus for a man with just one season of consistent goalscoring under his belt.
But the demonstrative, self-confident Vlahovic has the character and the quality to thrive where Ndombele failed.