Soldier MIA returns home after POW nightmare

 

Earlier in the day we got treated to Roberto Soldado photographed alongside Spurs fans at Gatwick and unofficial confirmation that he was on his way back to Spain, Villarreal to be specific. Then Erik Lamela Instagramed (which also duplicated onto Twitter) wishing Bobby good luck at his new club. This was very quickly deleted. There was more unofficial soundbites when Mauricio Pochettino said that nothing has happened (even though the player has permission to leave the country) and that the club will announce something, if anything does happen. Tottenham transparency titillating tentatively.

In the midst of all the drama, there was an alleged photograph of Clinton N'jie (he's the Cameroonian youngster from Lyon who you've recently watched on You Tube) spotted at an airport, on his way to England and N17. All the dizzying image sharing would give Jim White a blinding headache on deadline day, but instead we're left with a scratch of the chin as we await the only thing that really does matter: official confirmation. The club perhaps a little busy today having instead shared a time lapse video of the new stadium development, which is not too dissimilar to watching a tortoise on ketamine trudging through a puddle of glue.

Ladies and gentlemen, the summer transfer window by THFC, where our physically fragile Argentine bench warmer is more ITK than the locked Spurs communities and three hour late to the party Sky Sports journos.

As for the departing soldier? We are left with memories of a malfunctioning gun on the battlefield followed by an agonising Platoon style 'fall to the knees'. Rarely a glorious salute to his comrades. No Adagio for Strings to be heard here, it's been drowned out by the Benny Hill theme tune.

All I've ever written about is why he failed to ignite and plenty of wishful dreams of him finding a ruthless and effortless tempo to his game. I didn't give up. Neither did he. I knew I should have. I think he worked that out in the end too. Shame I never got to write anything that resembles some ilk of legacy that we can remember him by. Sadly those Instagram photos generated more smiles off the pitch than what he gave us on it. But kudos to him and the ones that kept on dreaming.

He was the wrong player for the wrong football club. Soldado wasn't the type of character to force his way into goals. He was loyal, committed and quite obviously hungry to be a success but in the end he didn't quite believe that enough and it showed when he turned the art of scoring into a tragic dark comedy. You can try real hard but if there is no refinement where it matters (in this case in the final third when seeking to shoot between the woodwork) then all the other positive traits evaporate into the ether.

Isolated up front by Andre Villas-Boas with two wingers that cut in rather than go wide, Soldado failed to display any of his instinctive and technically bright finishing that he was known for in La Liga. He had no support and some strikers require more than others to build up momentum of form. He might not create for himself but you'd still think he'd score a fair few, in and around the box, attacking space and the ball. You'd think. But regardless of traditional wingers or the inverted kind, he had no natural knack to make himself available for a pass often enough to define himself as our main striker.

He was competent enough with the ball at his feet in deeper positions and that was most telling when compared to his abomination of confidence when he was in front of goal. As a striker, if you're going to think about it for longer than a second (it being you and the ball with the goal net begging for a slap) you're going to find yourself in a world of pain. There's no pressure in deep positions. It's a comfort zone for a decent footballer, which Soldado is. But when running into the box or waiting for a diagonal or slipped pass, he always looked resigned to scuffing the chance. Mentally, he was broken. His eye of the tiger was more of a Clouseau shot in the dark.

When you remember the sitters more than you do the goals it's not comforting. Even the clear cut goals were not struck with delicate precision or violent smacks of the ball.

Even if the system was wrong, he's inability to adapt and then his descent into maddening manifestations of Rebrov, Postiga and Rasiak...was horrible. He's obviously a nice hard grafting kinda bloke. A professional. He never complained or attempted to point the finger of blame. He tried his best but there was nothing to show for it. The sad conclusion is, that no matter the reasons (be it football or personal), this relationship was doomed from the start. A fresh start back in Spain where he made his name will likely rejuvenate his spirit whilst we look towards a less experienced player to support the one striker we do know we can trust (unless second season syndrome provides a slap of its own).

So goodbye Bobby.  Good luck. You weren't quite right for us but that probably makes you more Tottenham than most.