Signed for Tottenham by Martin Jol, made an outcast by Juande Ramos and eventually farmed out on loan by Harry Redknapp. Now aged 20, Moroccan International Adel Taarabt had been hyped as the ‘New Zinedine Zidane’ upon his arrival in the Premier League at White Hart Lane in January 2007. However, three-years and three managers later, the question has to be asked! What went wrong for the young starlet, who turned up at Spurs as a 17-year-old from French side Lens, with a big reputation for someone so young?
Now plying his trade in the Championship on a second loan spell, with Queens Park Rangers, where the midfielder-come-winger is finally starting to enjoy some success in England. Former R’s boss Jim Magilton labelling the Moroccan a genius after his wonder goal against Preston last October, a sentiment echoed by Redknapp, who also called him such for his performances in training. So why has the playmaker failed to make the grade at Tottenham? With Redknapp willing to let Taarabt break his season-loan at QPR and leave The Lane on a permanent basis, should a Premiership club come in for him this transfer window.
Jol certainly liked him, having signed young Adel on an initial loan deal from the Ligue 1 side, with a promise to quickly make Taarabt a regular member of the first team. A promise, the now Ajax boss made good on, with the Dutchman giving the midfielder playing time in the EPL during his loan spell, then playing him more regularly the following season for Spurs. After signing him permanently that summer, before he was in my opinion harshly sacked by the North London club.
A more than strong case could be made, that the arrival of Ramos in England spelt the beginning of the end of Taarabt at Spurs. Juande-boy shutting the Moroccan out completely at Tottenham and when I say completely I mean it. Ramos making Taarabt part of the group, who were not given a squad number at Spurs and not even allowed to train with the first-team or use, any of the facilities available. Now for me, this would hit any player hard, let alone someone, who was just 18 at the time and desperately trying to kick-start his career in the toughest league in the world.
Ramos left and good riddance! Harry arrived and duly reinstated Taarabt to the squad along with the others. But despite waxing lyrical about the youngster only saw fit to hand him one appearance in the league along with three Carling Cup games and four appearances in the UEFA Cup. A competition Redknapp didn’t deem important due to the sorry mess Juande had left Spurs in. Indeed the decision to scrap the reserves for this season at Tottenham left Taarabt along with a host of other players at White Hart Lane in limbo. A loan spell, abroad or in the lower leagues the only option for a player, who has found the net 3 times in his 7 caps for Morocco.
Now being a West Londoner and having plenty of friends, who frequent Loftus Road on a regular basis. All, who tell me Taarabt, is indeed a quality player and someone that might just possess the genius of one of the greats of the modern era in Zidane. However, they are also quick to tell me Adel can be inconsistent, despite having the skills to turn a game on its head. Six goals in thirty Championship appearances for the Superhoops most of them spectacular, would suggest the still young Moroccan does have the ability to push on and really make his mark in the game.
If he continues to play well at QPR, will Taarabt finally get his chance at Spurs? Unfortunately I don’t think so! Redknapp already having made it clear to the Championship team that, the playmaker is definitely for sale. And with the likes of Luka Modric, Aaron Lennon and Niko Kranjcar standing in his way at Tottenham, whatever the future holds for the youngster, it would appear not to be in North London as things stand.