The story of Nabil Bentaleb is one of the most interesting cases in recent history for Tottenham.
He had come through Spurs’ academy and was given his first team debut by Tim Sherwood. He was just 19 years of age at the time, and looked to be a very promising player for Tottenham. He was a solid and formidable defensive midfielder that was also very good on the ball. He was shaping up to be the successor to Mouse Dembélé at White Hart Lane.
However, the Algeria international struggled under the new manager Mauricio Pochettino. The arrival of Eric Dier, and his transition to the midfield pushed Bentaleb further down the pecking order, and the arrival of Victor Wanyama in the summer of 2016 effectively spelt the end of the academy product’s time with The Lilywhites.
Bentaleb was loaned to Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 that summer, much to the dismay of the Tottenham supporters. However, they were aware that his playing time had considerably reduced, and were hoping that he would return better.
This is what the fans had to say:
— Chris Cowlin (@ChrisCowlin) August 25, 2016
will miss you, @nabilbentaleb42! You were a good steward for Spurs and I wish you the best!
— Thad Collins (@ThadCollins) August 25, 2016
Good luck Nabil. Will be remembered for putting that cross on Harry’s head in the NLD a couple of seasons ago.
— Nick Davison (@nick_davison10) August 25, 2016
better than Xavi
— RJ (@RJBoyce5) August 25, 2016
Good luck to him. At least, he’s not gone permanently. I hope he comes back as an improved player & we don’t sell him
— Eric (@EricYid) August 25, 2016
idiots, we will regret this massively in a couple of years.
— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown_180) August 25, 2016
For all the good BIG POCH has done,letting Bentaleb go is a bad move,I’m sure they’ll regret it
— Phoenix (@XVIICAPO) August 25, 2016
shame, was awesome season before injury. So CMs: Dembele, Dier, Wanyama and Winks, as TC and RM likely leaving too #COYS
— Matt French (@MattyFrench82) August 25, 2016
I hope you do well and come back an get a chance with us.
— Hishaam Habib (@HishimKissEm) August 25, 2016
@WindyCOYS praying he absolutely kills it and we take him back. Has the potential to hit some serious heights
— Alex G (@gibgibgib1) August 25, 2016
shame on you pocchetino
— Gennaro Haggiano (@haggianno) August 25, 2016
Bentaleb went on to have a fantastic first season in Germany, where he was awarded the Best Young Player award, as well as the Goal of the Season.
Subsequently, he made his move to the Bundesliga permanent in the next transfer window. Since then, he has continued to be a mainstay in the team, and has matured into a great player.
Many Tottenham fans will question whether they should have been more patient with the player, and if selling him was the wisest choice.