On joining Spurs from FC Barcelona back in 2008 things looked really promising for Giovanni Dos Santos and for Spurs. This is a player who came off the back of a hat-trick in his final game for Barcelona as well as having a big reputation both domestically and overseas. Barcelona were even reportedly reluctant to sell the star with then Spurs manager Juande Ramos believing he had pulled of a serious transfer coup especially considering Chelsea and Manchester City were reportedly interested in Gio.
Put simply, despite the early promise, it simply has not happened at Spurs. Gio has been loaned out numerous times, most recently to Racing Santander. In total has only managed 12 appearances in a Tottenham shirt without scoring once. In fact it looked certain that he’d move away from the club after rejecting a move to Udinese in favour of Sevilla, but this deal collapsed much to Gio’s disappointment.
So why have things failed to work out for Dos Santos who as stated was so highly rated before his move to Spurs? Despite poor club form he flourished onloan at Racing with 5 goals in 16 appearances and his national team form has always been excellent, despite being just 22 he has recorded 51 caps for Mexico, scoring 11 goals. Such form went a long way to helping Mexico to both the 2009 and 2011 CONCAF Gold Cup success, scoring the goal of the tournament in the 2011 tournament. His World Cup form has also been good, Gio was named second, behind Thomas Muller as the young player of the tournament in South Africa 2010.
Dos Santos Talent
It is undeniable that Gio is a talented player with real attacking prowess. His goal record for Racing and Mexico is testament to this so are his obvious technical abilities and skills. However it should be noted that in the modern game talent is not always enough, Freddy Adu being a prime example. Especially for a player who prefers to play as a central attacking midfielder something that is very much a dying breed. Spurs of course do have a player who plays in this role in Rafaeel Van Der Vaart who will always be ahead of Dos Santos in the pecking order and even then causes Redknapp selection problems of his own often operating out wide.
Failure To Settle
Gio isn’t the first South American to struggle in the Premiership. Juan Sebastian Veron being the most famous South American flop, Crespo also failed to make a real impact at Chelsea. One of the key reasons for Gio struggling to settle was that the manager that brought him to the club Juande Ramos was sacked shortly after Gio arrived at the club, something that is never easy for any player, yet alone a youngster in a foreign league.
It’s fair to say that Gio simply has not got on with Redknapp who sees the young Mexican as being unprofessional and having a bad attitude. The implication being that he went out drinking and did not take training seriously, Redknapp said of Gio, ‘He wasn’t in good shape [in the 2008/2009 season] he didn’t look after himself.” Despite this it seemed like Redknapp never warmed to Gio, as he didn’t with fellow youngsters Taarabat and Kevin Prince-Boateng, who is now flourishing at AC Milan, the Serie A champions. It could be argued that Redknapp took a dim view of some of the players who were already at the club when he took over and simply pushed them out of the club. Bentley and Bent being the most obvious examples of this, Bent was notoriously humiliated for missing an open goal for Spurs which was possibly a contributory factor in Bent leaving the club.
It appears that Redknapp simply does not see the worth of keeping Gio who is in all fairness is very much a luxury player, he does not defend enough to operate on either flank for Spurs and he won’t take Van Der Vaart’s place as the teams AMC. Comparing his transition to life in the Premier League to that of his compatriot Hernandez at United is in stark contrast.
Gio himself has said that he felt the manager had no confidence in him after sending him out on loan several times which has no doubt harmed his own confidence and performances for the club. Whilst loaned out Gio appears to have on the whole performed well. His move to Championship side Ipswich saw him become a central figure scoring 4 goals in 8. His time with Galatasaray was somewhat less successful, failing to score in 12 appearances. However as stated when turning out for Racing he managed a respectable 5 goals in 16, playing in the hole and looking at home in La Liga.
The Future For Dos Santos
It appears that Gio has no future at Tottenham with Harry Redknapp for one reason or another clearly not rating him very highly. It is reported that Sevilla will come in for him again in January in which case he would most likely make the move in a deal that would seemingly suit all parties.
At just 22 he definitely has time to rebuild his career away from England and the less physical, more technical La Liga would certainly be more suited to his style of play. As stated in the Premier League in particular skillful AMC’s are a dying breed with most teams operating with a holding player and two centre-mids, the AMC is widely considered a luxury.He would probably more comfortably fit in a 4-3-3 in the way he did with Barcelona.
Gio’s excellent international form makes him some what of an enigma in the eyes of Spurs fans who have not yet seem him replicate such form for the club, after a poor showing against Stoke in the League Cup on Tuesday.He has barely been given a chance, but in fairness to Redknapp when he has he has failed to make any real impact. The managerial change that took place shortly after Gio’s move certainly stunted his progress at the North London club.
Gio has made four appearances for the club this season, and with Van Der Vaart being left out of Spurs Europa League squad he may have one last chance to show Spurs fans and Redknapp why he was dubbed ‘the next Ronaldinho.’ Even so, it is difficult to see him dislodging Van Der Vaart, who himself may not be a regular if Defoe and Adebayor continue to click up front. Gio will be even less likely to displace Bale or Lennon on the wings especially seeing as how open he would leave either full back if he were deployed on the flank. Spurs possess a wealth of options in these areas with Krankjar and Piennar also able to operate out wide, even Danny Rose appears to be ahead of Gio in the pecking order.