Roberto Soldado’s first season in England was very underwhelming to put it mildly. A change of manager and a subsequent loss of of form resigned him to become almost a periphery figure at the club. Yet the question Pochettino still has to answer is, was last season just a blip and therefore a one off or should we write Soldado off as a bad buy and sell him to the highest bidder.
If the rumours doing the rounds are to be believed, there are whispers that Athletico Madrid amongst others are seriously pondering over the option to sign him. Their sale of Diego Costa means they are in a process of restructuring their forward line.
Now would Soldado’s sale represent a commercially sensible decision when it is apparent that it would be close to impossible to negotiate a selling price anything close to what we paid for him? Plus, selling a player that has not become a bad player overnight for a grave financial loss is definitely not consistent with the business model Daniel Levy craves to implement.
What is an even worse crime is the fickle minority that believe everything they read. The media has been able to convince people that Soldado is an utter and complete ‘flop’. If that is the case, then so were the rest of the team last season. One might argue that the rest of the players are exempt from heavy criticism because they did not cost the club £26m. £26million players must simply deliver, I hear some of you say. But I firmly believe as you know, one man does not make a team but it takes a team to elevate one man into prominence. Think Messi feeding off passes from Ineista and Xavi or Ronaldo lapping up the service from Modric or Bale. Everyone needs service. Who regularly serviced Roberto?
The narrative that Roberto is utter garbage has been emphasised for so long now that it has been accepted as a universal truth. Lamela was another unlucky one who became a target of the media’s weak attempts to create stories that would sell papers.
Yes we all agree Soldado did not have a season to remember. I am not saying his first season was great. Yet what people easily forget is, last seasons dysfunctional team played dire and laboured attacking football, which would have even failed to complement the killer instinct of a fit and peaked Alan Shearer. Oh yes it would. Our slow build up play meant the opposition always had time to organise themselves and put an army of bodies behind the ball. As a result, Roberto would get suffocated of service or receive the ball in non-threatening positions. Soldado knows where the back of the net is. It was us who did not play to his strengths…at all.
This is a man that received his fundamental football education, as a youngster in the same academy that produced and developed the likes of Iker Casillas and Raul to name a few. He scored an impressive 63 goals in 120 appearances for the Real Madrid B side. At Getafe he netted 29 goals in 60 games that convinced Valencia to snap him up. He also became a more regular international fixture in 2012 after making his debut in 2007 scoring twice in seven minutes against Venezuela after coming on as a half time substitute. I could go on and on but the least this man has scored in a single league campaign is a mammoth 25 since the 2010-2011 campaign. He had scored more than 25 every season since then. Well, until he came to Spurs and scored a measly 11 with only 6 being in the league and 2 of those being from open play.
So that tells even those who are not football fans, that a striker with such a distinctive scoring record over many seasons does not become a dud without external factors playing a part. You may have heard that Franco Baldini is the worst talent spotter since Louis Walsh from the X Factor but it is a lie. Baldini knew exactly what he was buying for 26m. Our managers at the time did not understand the player and hence failed to register a cohesive playing philosophy that would allow the more offensive players to shine.
Under Mau Po things look refreshingly different. He looks to have ideas the players are buying into. Quick tempo football, passing forward and players constantly interchanging posiHaving a technical plan will always suit the more technical players like Soldado. My verdict would be to not sell him. I declare him not guilty as charged. If I was the manager, I would be more tempted on the choice of keeping what I have got in Kane, Ade and Roberto or buying an extra frontman.tions. Looks like a recipe for success. What’s more is Spurs seem to have an identity. In pre season, there is clearly a game plan from what we see and everybody is reading from the same sheet. Soldado has even scored a couple of goals and set up a few along the way.
Sometimes football is a like a script written by the choices the managers make. Mau Po should write a good script. He should not write Soldaldo off.