Once tipped as the next best thing to come out of the famed La Masia academy, Giovani dos Santos has seen his career stall in recent years.
And after four years of being frozen out at Tottenham Hotspur, the Mexican is back in Spain. His deadline day move away from White Hart Lane now presents a huge opportunity for him to repair his reputation.
Dos Santos' has returned to La Liga with Mallorca, and it represents a huge coup for the islanders, but also shows the progress made under Joaquin Caparros. When the Coach took over, the club were in a state of turmoil as Michael Laudrup’s departure came with them in the lower reaches of the table.
However, Caparros has been the captain to steady the ship. Since his appointment, Mallorca have begun their ascent. In fact, if you compile a League table since Caparros was installed as Mallorca's boss, you'll see that they would be third in the table, behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid. Their impressive performances aren't well documented, but for a team that has had devastating financial problems, it's nothing short of a miracle.
So what has happened to Giovani? Well, we'll journey back to May 2008 where Barcelona demolished Real Murcia 5-3. Dos Santos was just 19 and on the fringes of the Barcelona first team, yet he managed to bag a hat trick in the game. It turned out to be his last for Catalan giants.
Just a month later, Dos Santos was on his way to Tottenham for a fee of €6m. Under the stewardship of Juande Ramos, he was in and out of the team but as soon as Harry Redknapp replaced Ramos, Dos Santos was out of the picture. Loan moves to Ipswich Town and Galatasaray materialised in a bid to recapture his form, but it was his switch to Racing Santander that saw him dazzle.
Amid promises of funds from Ahsan Ali Syed, Dos Santos was their marquee January signing and sure enough, he delivered the goods. Five goals and two assists in just 16 games endeared him to the Racing faithful who were hopeful of keeping him full time. Instead, Syed was found to have no money and his takeover was founded on lies. A return to White Hart Lane beckoned again for Dos Santos.
Rumours of moves to Atletico Madrid and Sevilla were mooted, but another season on the sidelines passed before he starred at the Olympics for eventual victors Mexico. Now was the time to leave Tottenham, and fortunately, he has gotten the return to Spain that he wanted.
Mallorca have been searching for some creative spark since losing Jonathan de Guzman last summer to Villarreal. They scored just 42 goals last year, and four goals in their three games so far this season. It's the strong defence that has propelled the club up the table, but more creativity in the final third could give Caparros the firepower he needs to secure a lofty finish and possibly European qualification.
At just 23, Giovani knows that he now has a huge chance to make himself known again. For too long he has been in the shadows, but this move to Mallorca offers him some stability, instead of being farmed out on loan. Gaining consistent first team football in a team where he will be the main creator could also result in a move to a bigger club in the future, and who knows – maybe even a return to Barcelona?
: “I will give the best out of me to take advantage of this opportunity that Mallorca gives me to return to La Liga during a moment in which I think I can explode as a footballer,” said the Mexican, determined to repay Caparros’ faith in him.
“For a couple of years I was keen to return to Spain and I am grateful to Mallorca for giving me the opportunity. When I was asked to come, I did not think twice.”
Mallorca now have their playmaker in place and a talented tactician at the helm. Caparros famously laid all the groundwork for Sevilla's success under Juande Ramos, whilst he took Athletic Bilbao to Europa League qualification before being replaced by Marcelo Bielsa. With Caparros looking to continue his relative success and things looking good on the pitch, hopefully a brighter future off it will be on the horizon for the fans, and for their new signing.