Giovani dos Santos: An international star but a domestic nomad

Giovani dos Santos has delivered for the national team yet again but his talent evades him at club level. The Mexican must play regular domestic football to develop as a player.

On Sunday, Giovani dos Santos put in a stellar performance for Mexico when they defeated Gabon 2-0 at the Olympics to give themselves a great chance of progressing to the quarter-finals, which they eventually did. The Tottenham player was on target twice, scoring his second with a well taken penalty. However, it wasn't a rare impressive display from the Mexican, on the contrary, it is what the national side have come to expect of him. However, his form for the national team hasn't been replicated at club level for a long time.

dos Santos has been impressive for Mexico

The diminutive attacker graduated from Barcelona's famed youth academy of La Masia after enrolling at the age of eleven. He debuted for the Catalans as an 18-year old and at one point was even considered the ideal replacement for an aging Ronaldinho. The future looked very bright for the young Mexican at the time but after a decent couple of seasons with the Spanish giants, he made the move to Tottenham.

Juande Ramos was the manager who signed him in June of 2008 but after a dismal run of results that saw the London club rooted to the bottom of the table after their first eight games, the Spaniard was sacked and Harry Redknapp was appointed as his replacement. The Mexican's form didn't afford him too many chances at White Hart Lane and thus began a series of loan spells.

A poor season-long loan with Galatasaray was sandwiched between a couple of decent stints with Ipswich Town and Racing Santander. With the recent arrival of Andre Villas-Boas as manager for Tottenham comes another opportunity for dos Santos to prove his worth at the club. His outings with the national team have always generated optimism that he could be a real asset for his club as well. The 2012 Olympics have served to suggest just that yet again.

The mexican's Olympic form could keep him at Tottenham

The fleet-footed midfielder came off the bench to inspire Mexico to a 2-0 victory over Gabon in the second half. His national coach, Luis Fernando Tena understandably suggests that dos Santos could have even more of an impact if he managed to maintain a more stable club career. He insists that if the 23-year old does find a rythm at club level, he will continue to grow and develop as a player.

The dynamic midfielder has always possessed a vast array of tricks among his set of skills. His small frame allows him to maintain a low centre of gravity that enables him to jink his way past defenders. His ability to run at pace with the ball, often sees him glide along the line of defence on his favoured left foot. His spectacular chip in the 2011 Gold Cup finals against USA to seal victory for the Mexicans is considered one of the best ever goals in the history of the national side.

Last season, Spurs seemed to struggle when Aaron Lennon was absent through injury during the second half of the season that incidentally coincided with a terrible dip in form for the Londoners. Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart took turns deputizing on the right flank which was also occupied by Sandro at one point while dos Santos, a readymade replacement, was on the bench.

Given that Villas-Boas has allowed Niko Kranjcar to leave and hasn’t signed another winger yet, it could point to the Mexican finally getting a few more opportunities with the first team with only Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon ahead of him in the pecking order.

The Tottenham boss has made it clear that he hasn’t made any premature decisions over the midfielder’s future without even seeing him train. He maintains that he, along with the club, are excited to welcome dos Santos back into the fold after the Olympics and decide on a course of action then. Despite his performances for the national team, top clubs aren’t exactly lining up offers for the Mexican so it may be a wise decision on his part to stay put at the moment and fight for a place at Tottenham.

The winger must prove his worth to Andre Villas-Boas

There’s no doubt that dos Santos has the talent to succeed in the Premier League but it’s just a matter of getting some minutes under his belt to help him finally settle in. With the scarce options in wide areas at Villas-Boas’ disposal at the moment, dos Santos could well be in line to play a big part in Tottenham’s season and in turn resurrect his club career.


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