He was brought to White Hart Lane in the midst of Ronaldinho fever with the mind-set that he could be even better. Whilst the Brazilian was bamboozling defences in La Liga whilst sporting the red and blue of Barcelona, Giovani Dos Santos was scribbling his signature on a contract that would see him wear the white of Tottenham Hotspur.
Fast-forward three years and things have gone considerably sour for the 22-year old Mexican. Frozen out, unwanted and seemingly stagnating at a club already brimming with a midfield full of quality players. It’s been a sorry decline for Dos Santos and the only way he can pick his career up is by moving on. However Harry Redknapp and the rest of Tottenham Hotspur might just regret not giving him a chance to shine.
There is no doubting that Dos Santos has bags of talent and Tottenham seemed like the perfect platform for him to rise to the top of footballs very best. The club were looking to progress to the next level after a series of fifth place finished and the winger was seen as the final piece of the jigsaw. Spaniard Juande Ramos was in charge and he had first hand experience of seeing Dos Santos in action during his time with Sevilla. A fee of £4.7 million was seen as a coup for a player highly rated by the biggest club in the world. But what transpired saw Dos Santos fail to make the desired impact and also get on the wrong side of Redknapp who replaced the Spanish boss early in the season. The Spurs boss criticised the Mexican’s attitude and life outside the club, as he would regularly turn up late to training on a Monday morning.
After so much hype he seemingly slipped off the radar and with other talented players coming to the fore everything seemed lost for Dos Santos. The pressure of being compared and having to live up to the world best footballer at the time had obviously gone to the young mans head. He’s played 10 games for Spurs in the last three years and is considered by many of the fans to be a flop. He is obviously still well thought of around Europe with Udinese joining Sevilla and Valencia in the chase for his services. However I still think Tottenham should give him one more chance to prove he is the player he was prophesised to be. He clearly slipped out of everybody’s mind and when he popped up playing for Mexico in South Africa in last years World Cup many people didn’t really bat an eyelid instead focusing on the players that were expected to excel at the tournament, which is understandable. I’ve always held a candle for Dos Santos after seeing him play for Barcelona a few years ago. He also proved to be one of the greatest ever free transfers for me on Football Manager but that’s a story for another day.
What followed thoroughly delighted me to the point of sheer ecstasy. Whilst the rest of the country were complaining about England’s ineptitudes I was wild eyed like a little child who had just received the latest action figure for Christmas. I took so much pleasure in watching Dos Santos actually show the people of Earth that he is the player many people thought him to be. His performances for Mexico were a joy to behold and he was deservedly nominated as young player of the tournament narrowly losing out to Germany’s Thomas Muller. A decent loan spell at Racing Santander followed and this coming season he will be back at Spurs unless a move elsewhere materializes.
But with the impending departure of star midfielder Luka Modric and as Redknapp struggles in the transfer market he’d be foolish not to hold out an olive branch to the Mexican. I have a sense that Dos Santos wants to succeed but first and foremost wants to play the sport he loves. You don’t see many ex-Barcelona players taking the opportunity to move to Ipswich Town and play Championship football. The World Cup highlighted the potential that he still possesses and at 22 he still has time on his side to make his Tottenham career a success. However I think Redknapp’s patience has already worn too thin and the death knell on Dos Santos’ White Hart Lane career may have already been signed, sealed and delivered. I’m certainly not apprehensive when I say that Tottenham will live to regret letting him go.
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