A joint sigh of relief had to have been simultaneously heard throughout North America on transfer deadline day when it was announced that Giovani dos Santos would join Mallorca, and not say, Inter or Sevilla.
While that might seem like a strange assertion, consider this: Dos Santos is so well-regarded in the European circle that despite four seasons of mostly warming the bench for Tottenham, he was still on the radar of several top teams. However, it’s pretty unlikely to assume that the 23-year-old would have been asked to instantly step in and unquestionably start for high-end teams.
No, what Dos Santos needs more than any one player on Mexico’s national team radar is minutes. While the prospect of donning a fabled jersey like Inter’s or playing for a constant Champions League threat like Sevilla might seem great at first, it’s that type of thinking that put Giovani in the prison cell known as White Hart lane for a four-year sentence.
Consistency did wonders for fellow Premier League escapee Carlos Vela when the former Gunner joined Real Sociedad on loan (and later, permanently) in 2011. Today, Giovani can probably be described as overjoyed knowing full well he’ll have a chance to shine for perennial mid-table side Mallorca.
All signs point to Dos Santos being an unquestionable starter for Joaquin Caparros’ side as soon as the injury he picked up in Olympic play quits nagging him. Add to that the mountain-sized chip on Giovani’s shoulder for being told time and again in England that he wasn’t good enough to be a starter. Now, Dos Santos actually has a manager that wants him around. According to Caparros and team VP Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, Tottenham’s loss is definitely Mallorca’s gain.
Easily the team’s biggest coup in the recently ended transfer window, the U-17 World Champion in 2005 now has a chance to make up for lost time and put his career back on track at a still young age, in a perfect situation. Just as his attorney, Vicente Montes noted, the Spanish league suits Gio’s style far better than the Premier League ever did. The drop in media attention and consequent lax pressure from supporters at the Iberostar Stadium will create a looser environment for the player and allow for a learning curve.
The idea of relaunching his career in a warm environment with plenty of minutes has to put a grin on Jose Manuel dela Torre’s face, as well. For days now, there’s been a pseudo-mocking tone displayed by some when it comes to crediting the Mexican national team for Dos Santos’ move. Some are asking whether it’s fair that the transfer fee for Gio's services was paid to Tottenham and not El Tri, noting that while the player donned Spur white and blue 30 times since 2008, he was most often seen in a Mexico jersey, racking up 55 appearances in that same span.
The fact that Tottenham retained 50 percent of the player’s transfer rights has to also serve as a further sign that Dos Santos’ tardiness in leaving London wasn’t because of the lack of interest, but rather Daniel Levy and Co. knowing full well that if they couldn’t make use of his on-the-field exploits, they could certainly cash in on the Mexican player’s perennial potential.
A La Liga arrival can only prompt (still premature) thoughts of a not-so-distant future where Giovani puts up numbers similar to compatriot Vela's Real Sociedad run or his own Racing Santander loan spell and captures the attention of bigger squads, eager to now let the player hit the ground running in a starting role instead of bringing him along slowly.
And even if there’s still a contingent of Mexican fans out there who consider the move an anticlimax given the quality of teams rumored to have been seeking him out, or a collective blow to the national self-esteem now that former Arsenal prospect Vela and former La Masia grad Dos Santos are playing for lower level teams, here’s another simple proposition.
If Giovani has been that good for El Tri without the benefit of regular first-team football in London, what should you expect in the future from Mallorca’s star attacker?