Nabil Bentaleb was once one of the more promising midfielders to breakthrough in the first-team at Tottenham Hotspur.
Then only 19, the young academy gem featured regularly under Tim Sherwood, playing 20 times in all competitions and was touted as a future international.
England, Algeria, and his country of birth, France were in an “arm-wrestle” to tie him down.
“I know Bentaleb, I know what he possesses. He trains like every day is the last day in the world and that’s a great trait to have for a young kid,” once lauded Sherwood.
Unfortunately for him, though, the former midfielder-turned-manager was soon replaced by Mauricio Pochettino, and soon, he found game time hard to come by.
As explained by football.london’s Alasdair Gold to ChronicleLive: “He was a very young player, he was inconsistent and I think that’s what he got it [criticism] more for.”
The 6 foot 2 livewire would go onto make a total of 66 appearances in four years for the north London outfit, largely from the bench, before Schalke 04 came calling.
Bentaleb initially joined the Bundesliga side on a season-long loan, with an option to buy for £17m, as per the Guardian.
That move was indeed made permanent a few months later in February, so he must’ve made a big enough impact for the seven-time league champions to sanction such a deal.
Although for Spurs, it was merely another sign of Daniel Levy’s magic touch in the transfer market.
His struggles have been well-documented since.
Last season saw a return to the Premier League, joining Danny Rose on loan at Newcastle United, where he failed to make much of an impact. One fansite compared his stint to that of Henri Saivet – aka. the bottom of the barrel for Magpies flops.
And now, Bentaleb is enduring a relegation battle in the Bundesliga. Well, he’s been watching from the stands as he cannot get a game for the German strugglers, having been restricted to only nine league appearances all term.
If you’re failing to get game time at 26 for a side desperate for a bit of quality, then what hope is there long-term? It didn’t work out at Spurs, it didn’t work out at Newcastle and it’s not working out at Schalke.
That only makes Levy’s decision in 2016 look even smarter. Indeed, Bentaleb’s value has plummeted rapidly. His worth now sits at just £1.8m as per Transfermarkt – a rather damning indictment of his quality these days.
Despite all the potential, make no bones about it, Bentaleb has been a disaster both at Spurs, and ever since. The Lilywhites can count their lucky stars that they received such a hefty amount, what a move.
AND in other news, Forget Ings: Spurs should swoop for “model professional” who idolises Kane…