The name Paul-Georges Ntep will be a familiar one to Tottenham Hotspur fans – but one that perhaps has not been uttered in recent times.
In 2014 and 2015, the French forward was consistently linked with a move to Spurs as his star performances for Rennes in Ligue 1 saw the versatile attacker earn a venerable reputation.
While Tottenham were one of a host of major teams monitoring Ntep, it was Bundesliga side Wolfsburg that won the race for the 25-year-old’s signature in January 2017.
While the Cameroon-born attacker was tipped to become even more of a star in German football, things have not gone quite to plan for the former Auxerre youth player.
Ntep has only started six Bundesliga games for Wolfsburg in 12 months and has just agreed to return to France – signing a loan deal with Saint Etienne for the remainder of the campaign.
As such, Tottenham’s reported interest in signing Ntep and the player’s subsequent failure to progress outside of his homeland serve as a reminder of the perils of signing rising stars from French football.
Spurs have already learned the lesson in the cases of Benjamin Stambouli, Etienne Capoue, Clinton Njie and potentially Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.
Ntep’s example also serves as a caution for Tottenham in their reported courting of Bordeaux winger Malcom.
The Brazilian is hot property after star performances in the west of France, with Spurs one of the teams linked with him and a reported club-record fee required to land the South American.
Daniel Levy made the right choice in not moving for Ntep – Tottenham would be advised to follow the same approach with Malcom and save their money for someone who is proven outside of French football.