hitc: Tottenham Hotspur have been warned off a deal for Rennes forward Mbaye Niang with former France international Jerome Rothen questioning the mentality of an ‘unstable guy’, speaking to RMC Sport.
If the mention of this speedy 25-year-old is triggering bouts of déjà vu in north London, there is a reason why.
You can trace Spurs’ interest in Niang all the way back to 2011, when he was a budding teenager courting interest from what felt like every club in Europe.
And, almost a decade on, he is back on Tottenham’s radar, with L’Equipe reporting that initial contact has been made.
Though there is a reason why Niang has been off the shortlist for the best part of ten years. As Rothen points out, his 15-goal season at Rennes is very much an outlier in the career of a forward who has flattered to deceive more often than not.
Up until he joined Rennes in 2018, Niang had not hit double figures in a single campaign – wasting opportunity after opportunity at AC Milan before failing to build on an eye-catching start to life on loan with Watford.
“When you look at his career in numbers, you can say for two years, he has finally stabilized in a club (Rennes). He had a long contract in Milan, where he was loaned out every year,” says the outspoken Rothen of Niang, who has also been linked with Marseille.
“He’s an unstable guy. He did two years in Rennes, that’s good. Imagine he gets his way and signs for Marseille. It’s going to be a good six months at Marseille, because it’s a big club, playing in the Champions League…
“He had experience in Milan, which is a big club. (But) he didn’t succeed. He knows that in these (big) clubs, it’s not just about being professional, it’s about being serious. He is unable to do that.
“Once he gains confidence and scores goals, he falls back into lax training. Because that is his mentality, and he will fall into oblivion. He will do a year or two in Marseille and then we will say that they must get rid of him.”
Not exactly a glowing recommendation, then, of a man who might not exactly take to life sitting on the bench behind Harry Kane at Tottenham Hotspur.
And given that Jose Mourinho is not exactly a man willing to carry passengers, this feels like a risk that Spurs would be better off avoiding.
Source: Published by hitc