x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mexican can earn Spurs with games

An injury to Aaron Lennon meant Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, stopped the transfer of Giovani Dos Santos on the transfer deadline day. Now the former Barcelona player has the chance to prove himself at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Mexican player, Giovani Dos Santos, left, trained at Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Mexican player, Giovani Dos Santos, left, trained at Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy.

When Tottenham Hotspur confirmed their 25-man squad for the season, there was a playmaker on the list that many supporters had expected to leave during the summer. And it was not Luka Modric.

Giovani Dos Santos moved to White Hart Lane in 2008, arriving amid much-hype from Barcelona for £4.7 million (Dh27,835m).

In his final match for the Catalans, he scored a hat-trick and Thierry Henry said that, by 2012, he "can be one of the best players in the world ... if he wants".

At last year's World Cup in South Africa, the Mexican proved his class as a 21 year old and was deservedly voted runner-up for the Young Player of the Tournament award.

At this year's Gold Cup, he was awarded Goal of the Tournament for a sublime solo effort in his side's 4-2 final victory over the USA. Were he English, it would have been goal of the decade.

Yet at Tottenham he remains a pariah. In three fruitless seasons, he has started only two league games and been sent on loan to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander.

Harry Redknapp, his manager at Spurs, has grown frustrated with the 22 year old's attitude claiming "if he could pass a nightclub as well as he can pass a ball he would be all right".

At Santander he impressed, scoring five goals in nine starts and was widely expected to join Sevilla permanently last month.

Redknapp pulled the transfer on deadline day, prompting Dos Santos to say: "Both myself and my agent have been left disappointed, sad and angry at the way Tottenham have acted."

With Aaron Lennon picking up a groin injury against Manchester City last week, the Mexican may finally get his chance and - nightclubs aside - there is no reason why he cannot light up the Premier League in much the same way his compatriot, Javier Hernandez, did last year at Manchester United.

But he needs games. And not in the League Cup or Europa League, surrounded by a makeshift team of younger, inferior players.

With a run in the first team, Dos Santos, with the speed, skill and sixth sense expected of somebody who has developed through Barcelona's famed La Masia youth academy, can prove to Redknapp that Modric was not the only playmaker whose services had to be retained at all costs this summer.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Gary Meenaghan on @GMeenaghan