Described by both Harry Redknapp and Jim Magilton as a ‘genius’, Adel Taarabt is one of the most exciting players in the Football League. His ability on the ball is superb; he has an abundance of tricks up his sleeve and possesses an explosive shot. Despite these abilities, both Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp have been unable to work out how to utilise Taarabt’s talents in the best way.
Taarabt arrived at Tottenham, initially on a long-term loan, and upon seeing his talent he was burdened with the label: the next ‘Zinedine Zidane’. His dribbling ability quickly came to the fore but it soon became clear that he was far from the finished article. He often held on to the ball for too long and failed to find his teammates when they moved into good positions; in addition Taarabt’s work rate left a lot to be desired as he tended to neglect his defensive responsibilities. He found his first-team opportunities limited at Tottenham in 2007/08 and his ambitions were dealt a cruel blow at the beginning of the 2008/09 season when Juande Ramos neglected to even give him a squad number.
When Harry Redknapp took charge, he spotted Taarabt’s ability and gave him a squad number. At the beginning of the year, Redknapp hinted that from what he had seen of Taarabt in training, the player was a real prospect and would make an impact in the first team soon. Despite these comments, the player moved on loan to QPR where he scored one goal in seven appearances before an injury forced him to return to Tottenham. Taarabt is spending this season on loan at QPR again, and he is starting to have a real impact in the Championship. The midfielder scored a phenomenal goal against Preston North End on the 1st October; collecting the ball in his own half, he beat three players before sending a 25 yard shot past the goalkeeper. The following week he scored a free-kick against Derby and has maintained this good form in recent weeks.
Now 20, Taarabt has signalled that he wishes to leave Tottenham on a permanent basis due to a lack of first team opportunities. He has improved on his teamwork skills and work rate in recent months; though he can still improve on these areas of his game. Very much a rough diamond, if Taarabt can secure a move to a club that suits him, he could still grow into the star player that Tottenham had hoped they had signed.