“At the moment I’m trying to rediscover my best form, and I want to be back at the top of the world game in the not-too-distant future. That’s my goal and I’m very focused on achieving it.”
Those were the words of Tottenham Hotspur’s Giovani dos Santos towards the end of a highly auspicious loan spell with La Liga outfit Racing Santander in 2011. Fast forward a year and the Mexican forward’s progress has been severely derailed, having played less than an hour of first team football in an entire season in London.
Dos Santos was scouted by Barcelona and brought to Spain from his hometown of Monterrey in Mexico at the tender age of 11. The cunning forward’s return to Spain with Racing was also a return to form, and he ended that season with five goals in 16 appearances. It is a tidy return from a second striker, which included two headed finishes, an area of his game he has openly claimed needed improvement before. It is also a clear sign he is committed to bettering himself on the pitch to earn first team action.
Former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp questioned Dos Santo’s level of commitment off the pitch, however, claiming he spent too much time enjoying London’s night life and often turned up late for training the following day. Loan spells at Ipswich Town and Galatasaray, alongside that with Santander, brought mixed results, with his time in Turkey being particularly poor. An exceptional pre-season convinced Redknapp to keep him around last term, but the half-Brazilian saw virtually no playing time.
In his glimpse of a starting role in 2012, Dos Santos scored an extravagant chip from an audaciously tight angle for Mexico against Brazil in a hotly contested friendly last month. The 23-year-old was subsequently picked for El Tricolor’s London 2012 Olympics squad, and after starting the opening game on the bench, the former Barcelona man scored both goals in a 2-0 win against Gabon. Despite not being one of the overage players selected, he showed leadership skills worthy of his 59 appearances for the national team.
Mexican Coach Luis Fernando Tena later commented that Dos Santos often changes the physiology of a game, as his presence alone improves his teammates’ efforts and distresses the opposition. The 54-year-old also made it clear that the La Masia prodigy must leave Tottenham if he has any chance of completing his objective of returning to the pinnacle of world football. The player himself has already openly admitted he would prefer a move back to Spain.
Dos Santos has stated that Tottenham have tried to sell him for twice the amount they paid for him, but there were understandably few sides interested in taking such a gamble. Another loan move will only prolong the inevitable and stunt a career that has shown so much promise. All the while, the player wants Spain again.