Tottenham Hotspur have announced on Wednesday that winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou will spend the rest of the season on loan at Premier League rivals Burnley – in what could be an inspired decision by Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
The 22-year-old has struggled to make an impression in North London since signing from Marseille in the summer of 2016, with the wideman only making nine Premier League appearances in 18 months – all from the bench.
This season has been no different for Nkoudou, with Pochettino admitting that he expected more from the attacker and the fringe man not being given a chance to even start against AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup at the weekend.
With all this in mind, the French forward is in real danger of following in the footsteps of Clinton N’Jie and returning to Ligue 1 branded as a failure.
However, a move to Burnley could well be the shot in the arm that Nkoudou’s Tottenham career needs.
Sean Dyche’s men are flying high this season and the 22-year-old’s potential for regular football is certainly higher at Turf Moor than it is at Spurs, with Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela and Son Heung-min ahead of him in the pecking order.
While some Tottenham fans may write off Nkoudou and feel he will never make an impact at the club, on face value he has all the attributes to be a success.
Pochettino has stated on plenty of occasions that he yearns for a Plan B in the final third – a player with pace and the ability to take on and beat an opponent.
As showcased in the 1-1 Premier League draw with West Ham United last Thursday, Tottenham’s attack can become one-dimensional against opponents that defend in numbers.
There is an over-reliance on Eriksen to create something, with Spurs’ play becoming very narrow.
As can be seen below, Nkoudou clearly has ability – otherwise Tottenham would not have identified the 22-year-old as someone that could make a difference in North London.
The Frenchman has not been given a chance to show what he is capable of in English football, but there have been small insights into his potential in cameos from the Spurs bench on occasions.
If Nkoudou can work hard and be in contention to play regularly at Burnley, he could yet return to Tottenham in the summer as a player ready to have an impact.
It feels like the last throw of the dice by Pochettino in resuscitating the attacker’s tenure at Spurs, with the London club surely moving for another similar option in the summer, such as Wilfried Zaha, if his Burnley stint is not a success.
However, in a Clarets side lacking invention and penetration in the final third, if Dyche’s men unleash Nkoudou and allow him to show what he can do, the loan deal could well be a shrewd move by Tottenham.