After years of being ignored by Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, Mexican international Giovani dos Santos has made his way back to Spain, completing a permanent move to Mallorca on Friday. This will be dos Santos’ third stretch in La Liga.
Who is he: It seems like he’s been around forever, but dos Santos is only 23 years old. He was recruited to North London as 19-year-old in 2008, having scored three goals (all in one game) in 28 appearances at Barcelona. Shortly after moving to Spurs, head coach Juande Ramos was dismissed, leaving Redknapp in charge of the young attacker’s career. Often battling fitness concerns and the lack of a natural place in Redknapp’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, dos Santos made only 17 league appearances in four seasons, being sent out on loan three times.
Along the way, dos Santos established himself as the best player in Mexico;s setup, winning two Gold Cups and a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 59 appearances for El Tri, dos Santos has 14 goals.
What does he do: Dos Santos’s best role is in support of a No. 9, though he can also drift wide if given no defensive responsibilities. He’s quick though not necessarily fast with on-the-ball skills that are near world class. He is the best creator in CONCACAF but lacks the all-around skill set to take up a complementary role. Like Rafael van der Vaart, he is best utilized in a team that will allow him to play exclusively in attack, even if his size (5’8″) and lack of physical strength tempts coaches to use him wide.
How much did he cost: Only £1 million, but Spurs are said to have retained 50 percent of his sell-on price. As usual, not a bad bit of business by Daniel Levy.
How does he fit: Very well. He’ll get a chance to play every match in the role he wants. He goes back to a league that offer plays at a slower pace (most leagues do, compared to England), where a decreased tolerance for physical defending will play to his strengths. Establishing a relationship with striker Tomer Hemed will determine how quickly he can improve Mallorca.
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