When Jermain Defoe walked on to the hallow turf of White Hart Lane Tuesday night, the former Portsmouth striker was met with a rapturous applause from the faithful Tottenham fans. One man who was unlikely to cheer Defoe’s arrival was Tottenham colleague and fellow striker Giovani Dos Santos.
While Defoe was paraded in front of his fans, Dos Santos sat on the bench for the entire 90 minutes of Tottenham’s 4-1 win against Burnley in the Carling Cup semi-final. For the Mexican international and son of a Brazilian footballer, this has been a common occurence for Giovani. In the season thus far, he’s started only two Premier League matches, and made just four Premier League substitute appearances. A dismal record indeed for a player Spurs paid Barcelona £4.7 million for his services.
Granted, Giovani has been hampered by an ankle injury since October, so he hasn’t had a chance to shine at White Hart Lane, but with the arrival of Defoe, the continuous improvement of Roman Pavlyuchenko and the insurance policy of having Darren Bent available on the bench, there isn’t room for a player of Giovani’s salary at Spurs. Then there’s Manchester United loanee Fraizer Campbell who, to illustrate how low Giovani is on Harry Redknapp’s pecking order, played against Burnley instead of the Mexican striker.
Even though Defoe is in the limelight and Dos Santos is a fading memory, the Mexican striker has generated interest with Mexican club Chivas who have enquired about securing Dos Santos on a loan for the remainder of the season.
There’s no doubt that Giovani can regain his form and match fitness at a different club than Tottenham Hotspur. The 19-year-old has the skill necessary to succeed whether it’s as an attacking midfielder or second striker. He is, by far, a lightweight player, so the wisdom that Damien Comoli showed in signing the starlet has to be questioned especially in a very physical league such as the Premiership.
Over the next week as Defoe is paraded in front of the national press and on television, spare a thought for one unlucky Mexican striker. A man who came to Spurs at the wrong time under the wrong manager, and who now finds himself under the tutelage of a manager who doesn’t believe in him. He is the forgotten man, another in a series of players who are overshadowed by new signings in the January transfer window.