Premier League

Tottenham’s ‘New Zidane’ That Never Was

Upon Adel Taarabt’s arrival at Tottenham Hotspur Rudy Raba, the player’s agent, didn’t want to talk his client up too much, but felt it only prudent to point out that,

“In France it is simple, he is considered as the new Zidane… He is exceptional, he is one of the most talented young players in France, perhaps the most”

Well at least Rudy didn’t tell us he has more tricks than Jesus Christ, although, you get the impression that Ruby believed Taarabt’s amazing talents truly did mark him out as the second coming.

 Instead, what Tottenham fans got was an immensely skillful young player with absolutely no ability to implement his skills meaningfully in the Premier League.

Adel Taarabt joined Tottenham from RC Lens on an initial 6-month loan deal in January 2007, with the idea that he would quickly be integrated into the first team squad at White Hart Lane. Taarabt left the Ligue 1 club for Tottenham permanently the following June.

 Now at Queens Park Rangers, it is fair to say that Taarabt has earned praise from the majority of managers he has played under. Martin Jol compared Taarabt to Tottenham legend David Ginola, labeling the player ‘a wizard’. Jol told the Daily Mail,

‘On the ball I don’t think there’s another talent like him in England’.

Both Jim Magilton and Harry Redknapp have both waxed lyrical over Taarabt’s ability, with the former QPR boss labeling the player ‘a gem’. At Tottenham, Taarabt has been unlucky in that he has witnessed three managers in his three years for the club, and at times Tottenham have been a struggling side, hardly the environment a young, inexperienced player will prosper in. However, with Tottenham’s fortunes radically improved from the situation the club faced with Juande Ramos as manager, Redknapp is still keen to off-load the player.

This is despite his young age (Taarabt turns 21 in May) and the fact that he has put in some stellar performances for the West London club, his wonder goal against Preston North End last October being evidence enough.

Taarabt’s failure to live up to the hype is perhaps down to his lack of consistency.

He started well at Tottenham, at just 17 years old he made a few substitute appearances for the club, notably against West Ham in that now famous 4-3 victory, and away against Chelsea soon after in the 2006/07 season.

 However, the player failed to kick on after showing early glimpses of what he could do, and when he did start, looked out of his depth when looking to link up with team mates. If Adel wasn’t running at the opposition, he wasn’t doing anything.

When Adel joined QPR on-loan this season, after initially suffering injury in the 2008/09 campaign, he again lit up the Championship with some outstanding goals and examples of skill. However, the performances have somewhat dried up as of late, and when Paul Hart took over at the club, Taarabt found himself on the bench.

The temperament of the player, as well as his ability to perform consistently, must also be taken into consideration, as apparently he and Paul Hart entered into a pushing match before Hart left the club. Adel told the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle,

“I was having trouble with Hart, but I am very happy with the performance of the team for the new manager. It was a big problem with Hart, we had a meeting and I did not like him. I did not enjoy the way that he had the team playing. I am the type of player who likes to get on the ball and play, but I could not play the way that I wanted with Hart… Next year I want to go to Spain and play as my style of play is more Spanish than English I think.”

If a player does not like the way the team plays, it is his job to adapt and play to the manager’s game plan, not demand the manager bases the team around one player.

Further, Taarabt obviously has no appetite for the English game, believing his abilities would be better served in Spain. The chances are Taarabt believes he can go to Spain and won’t have to track back or defend. In Taarabt’s first months at the Tottenham, he was already informing the world he had no ability to head or defend, but wanted to focus on taking people on, telling Hotspur Magazine,

“I think I’ve got good technique. I play with both feet, but my heading skills are not the greatest. I am not too keen on defending, but my strongest point is dribbling and taking people on”.

Ok Adel, so basically you like dribbling. That’s great, but the Premier League is not a circus, and to make it in the world’s toughest league, it will take more than the odd trick or the wonder goal (although to date, in Taarabt’s 9 substitute appearances, he has yet to score a goal or create assist). So here’s to Adel Taarabt, the new Zinedine Zidane that never was…

Check out some of Adel Taarabt\’s better moments by clicking on this link

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