Giovanni Dos Santos is only 20 years old but already there is a feeling that the young Mexican is not meeting his true potential. Undeniably gifted as a footballer he can entrance his many fans with mesmerizing runs and confound opponents with beautiful skills and trickery.
Unfortunately, lately he has a failed to demonstrate his artistry mainly due to poor form, injury or not being given the opportunity by his team boss.
Last year Harry Redknapp snapped up the midfielder from Barcelona (the rumours in the Nou Camp were that he believed his £60,000 a week wages were too low, his younger sibling Jonathon remains). However, although it is believed that the Spurs manager rates Dos Santos he was farmed out to Ipswich in January 2009 to gain experience. This short term loan proved to be fruitful; he scored 4 times in 8 games and quickly became a fans favourite.
His return to White Hart Lane has so far been hampered by niggling injuries and he has been used sparingly mainly in the Carling Cup.
Baby faced Giovanni was born into a footballing family. His Brazilian father played for Mexican League teams in the 80’s and his brothers Eder and Jonathon play for Club America and Barcelona respectively.
Dos Santos burst onto the international scene during the under 17 World Championships where his displays earned him the Adidas Silver ball, second behind Manchester United’s Anderson. Barcelona was quick to recognize his potential and he was drafted into their famed youth squads.
Again in the under 20 World Cup in Canada his performances were enthralling, quickly becoming Mexico’s key man and although his team were eliminated in the quarter finals by Argentina he was awarded with the Adidas Bronze ball.
Football journalists and pundits were gushing with the praise, heralded as the next Maradonna( or maybe Hugo Sanchez) it seemed like the world was at his feet.
Since then it has career trajectory has plateaued.
Maybe guilty of impatience at Barcelona he unwisely opted to move on to Tottenham and while his chances may were thwarted by messrs Messi, Iniesta and Xavi at the Nou Camp, Modric, Krankjar and Lennon are often before him on match days at White Hart Lane.
Playing behind the main strikers he often creates opportunities for his team-mates with incisive runs and close ball control. When given an opportunity to score he is composed usually electing to round the keeper a slot into the gaping goal. He reminds me of Gianfranco Zola although not as physically strong, this may be why he is struggling in the rumble tumble of the premiership.
For Mexico Dos Santos has become a pivotal figure and has performances often have a bearing on Mexico’s final result. Current national boss Aguirre quickly realized this upon his recruitment and in recent World Cup qualifiers the main attack has flowed through the young Mexican. It was this ploy that contributed to Mexico’s recent Gold Cup success where he linked well with talisman Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Arsenal’s Carlos Vela culminating in the 5-0 demolition of the USA.
I have managed to see Dos Santos twice live, once against Heart of Midlothian in a pre-season friendly and again in the World Qualifier against the USA in the packed full Azteca. Both times he was head and shoulders the best player on the park.
If he is to impress in South Africa he must gain more playing time. Maybe another loan to a Championship team or Spain can provide this more opportunities.
Either that or Harry Redknapp might realize what a gem he has in his dressing room.