Gio dos Santos and Adel Taarabt walk into a pub...
The landlord looks up to see the two men approach the bar.
"What would you chaps like to drink?"
Gio surveys the bottles behind the bar and responds, "I'll start on the left and work my way through to the right".
The bar man nods, "And you sir?", he asks of Adel.
Adel pauses with thought, astonished by his surroundings, then responds.
"I don't understand this joke, where is it going? Why would I even partner up with Gio and even consider sharing a drink with him in a pub? This makes no sense to me. I should be enjoying a cup of expresso el fresco with the likes of Ronaldo and Messi".
Gio laughs out loud, "Ridiculous".
Adel looks across to him, "What? What is so ridiculous about that?"
"Share?", replies Gio, "I'm not sharing a single drop".
So goes the story.
Exactly how does one go about answering the questions posed by the young Mexican and his international form compared to his Premier League isolation? Is the wall between club and country one built solely on stubbornness and mismanagement? Are we walking straight into the same paradox that has come to passing since we sold Taarabt to QPR, who then led them to promotion, winning accolades and awards in the Championship. With subsequent self-promotion hoping to finally cement that move to a Champions League club. No international football for Adel to draw another parallel similar to the one Gio has. The Moroccan has retired on the basis of being too good for it.
Gio and Adel. Misunderstood by many and controlled by few.
Have to admit I'm not sure I'm the best to answer this question in terms of game for game analysis of performances as I've seen very little of Gio's most recent loan spell at Racing Santander and only highlights and reviews of Adel's title winning season. If we intend to base our opinions on You Tube videos then someone fire up a compilation of Jermaine Jenas best bits.
However, taking into account what we have seen (in Lilywhite colours) and what we know of the players stints at our club...going with your gut instinct is probably enough in both cases based on the (lack of required) qualities in question outside of their audacious talent - with regards to Spurs. Even though you might debate Harry's agenda with both players. Did they get ample chances to impress? With both players he gave us a clear indication they we're given the opportunity to prove themselves at Spurs but both (for different reasons) were ultimately pushed away.
You have to question the application and effort of a player who seems to be focused and vibrant for his country and anything but for his club. Barcelona saw something in the lad to plunge him into their first team squad. Perhaps his playboy personality (birthed because of his Barca break?) was always going to work against him which is why he was sold. They didn't feel he was worth the extra work to keep hold of. Or maybe cruelly deemed surplus due to the players ahead of him at the club. At Tottenham, Harry cited weekend away trips back in Barca and resulting failure to turn up for training. Gio was not taking it seriously.
So goes the story.
Harry quotes aside, with the money spent on a Barca prodigy, you'd think the club would have worked to settle him in England. He settled so well he had no qualms with doing as he so wished.
What does it matter the skill you possess, the goals you can score if you don't want to stick in a shift and prove yourself to the team and the club? It's easy to always pin the responsibility on the manager.
Just going to randomly mention David Bentley here.
The very fact that Gio plays well for his country and not for us is not because they are managing him better or giving him a free role or building the team around him. It's because he gives a sh*t for them and doesn't for us.
Would a different coach have got the best out of him? Maybe, maybe not. I reckon we - Harry included - would have if dos Santos cared enough. What I do know about his La Liga loans is that he's had some sparkling performances mix in with the mundane. His performances for Spurs (last time of asking) we're hardly inspiring. Did well for Ipswich once or twice I seem to remember.
Pressures of breaking into the Barca team so early might have elevated his ego to the point of no return.
Would I love to see Harry take him back and work some man-management magic and instil some renewed confidence in the player 'domestically' back here in England? Sure. But Gio's profile back in La Liga means this is player the club won't struggle to sell - especially off the back of his performances in the Gold Cup. Copa America might add even more value.
He's too much of a risk to keep, not worth the gamble. Therefore easy money on the transfer market.
This one has yet to conclude as it's still on the march to a satisfying (or otherwise) finale. The opening three or so months of the new season will tells us whether we were right to get rid of him (that's if he's not been signed up by Jose).
Here's a lad called a genius by Redknapp then shifted out on loan, then sold. Sometimes, on occasions, players have to be sold on for them to truly find their place and develop and mature. Whether it's a reality kick in the teeth or simply the aid of a prolonged run of games (even if it's a league lower than where they started from) it's quite easy to say in hindsight 'we should have kept hold of him'. Had we, he might still be on the fringe of first team action or worse.
I can't comment on whether the club did enough when he was there because I wasn't on the training pitch or at the Lodge day in day out.
So what of this genius?
Pockets of plushness accompanied by playground posing. Tricks and step-overs aside, he was obviously too raw and immature. I always had this overbearing emotion that people who enjoyed watching him for us (in those cameos) smiled and laughed out of enjoyable embarrassment. Some of us loved him because of his sheer audacity to be so care-free and without an apparent air of awareness of where he actually was. The Prem and not the playground.
His loan spell was meant to fix that. He was meant to discover the art of grafting and improve that lack of self-awareness and find the right balance between tempo and team-work. But we still didn't see enough to retain his services (but just in case of an err we pencilled in a nice 40% sell-on clause) and allowed QPR to take him permanently. Championship Player of the Season later he still shows traits of self importance and priority of individuality on the pitch and plenty off it. But he's adapted well down there, just below us. He's now coming back up for his second chance.
Sustained form in the rough and tumble second tier from Adel, but whether he'll have time to stand on the ball and outwit the very top players is altogether a different question that will no doubt be unequivocally answered. One that we could not have possibly found out at THFC because he did not want to buckle down and prove his worth with us. This genius felt he had nothing to prove. You have to love the self-belief and arrogance. If Jenas had a tinge of it, he'd be < insert long-winded theory that Jenas is a confidence player here >.
Alas, this self-belief and arrogance appears to be far more self indulgent and deluded than it is Zidanesque. Actions speak louder than words but not for Adel. His words come with megaphone and neon lights.
I'm still not inclined to believe Harry 'didn't fancy him' because he was too flash. Bostock was also put in his place by Harry. Players being marginalised because of the gaffers ego? Don't all managers favour certain players and don't all managers look to move on players who have no future at the club? Hopefully Bostock will come good.
Granted all managers get it wrong from time to time.
Much like Gio, Adel has attitude and simply won't adjust it to accommodate the team and his manager. Unless that team is QPR and the manager is Neil Warnock. If you proclaim to be that good you can make it work anywhere. Even if it means waiting and fighting your way through into the first team. If you simply don't possess the patience to work alongside the skill then that's your problem, not ours. Help yourself to aid others to help you. He found the Championship more comfortable for him to bed into the English game. That's the path he choose, it's not one that could have involved us.
Gio and Adel talented? On both accounts, very much so. But you need your head in the right place. You also need to sacrifice some ego in the process. Adel has at the very least proved he does know how to get on it. The Championship is hardly forgiving, even though it's nowhere near the same level as the Prem.
Both players were reluctant to do so in our colours. Good luck to both, but it's their loss, not ours.
Curveball? Bale was famously almost loaned out/sold before he returned into the team. Sometimes fate takes hold of your destiny and forever changes it. But unlike Gareth, Gio has not been with us for a while now. He's already been cut loose. As for Adel, he will no doubt provide some entertainment next season.
In an ideal world I'd have both of them at Tottenham on the bench. Because both are capable of producing something crazy and magical. But their world is on a completely different axis.
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