What actually went wrong with Roberto Soldado?

Image: SpursWeb

Only two years ago, for a fee of £26 million, highly rated Spanish hitman Roberto Soldado arrived at White Hart Lane amidst huge anticipation from Spurs and BPL fans alike.

51 appearances, 7 goals, 2 years and a lot of frustration later it appears the Spaniard’s time in North London is at an end.

Often used to embody Spurs’ poor dealings in the 2013/14 summer transfer window, it’s clear that Soldado has had a torrid time in England with 3 league goals from open play, an awful goals return from  player nearly costing Tottenham £30 million.

So what actually prevented Soldado from translating his red-hot form in Spain onto the grass in England?

Very few people doubt that Soldado has the quality to perform in the Premier League, his 59 goals in 101 appearances for Valencia is a demonstration of the talent that the man has, clearly showing the reason as to why the usually financially shrewd Daniel Levy forked over all of £26 million for his services.

He has shown signs of the player he was at Valencia, albeit on some very few occasions but his hat-trick against FC Anzhi Makhachkala did show elements of the goal-poacher that many Spurs fans expected to see in Tottenham.

His link-up play is impressive, often showing a natural good first touch and awareness for the players around him, as well as a good pass, and although his goal record at Spurs doesn’t suggest it, he can instinctively find space in the box.

The fact that many Spanish clubs are  lining up to relieve him of his misery in England for fees as high as £12 million, (for a 30 year old with 7 goals in 51 appearances) highlights how highly rated he is in La Liga.

However football is ultimately a game of psychology as much as it is a game of physicality.

Roberto Soldado never got those first few goals to get him up and running in the Premier League, and it is absolutely vital to form a basis on which you can build on, especially as a striker not used to the Premier League.

Watching Soldado today, is watching a man absolutely bereft of any confidence, not ability as some would suggest, the latter of which he is in abundance.

Its not as if he doesn’t work as hard as he should to get the goals, he is on par with Harry Kane in terms of work-rate, he is always trying to find space behind the defender or come short to start an attack.

Soldado will often find himself in the position to score quite comfortably, but time and time again, his confidence or rather his lack of it gets to him and frequently cannot find the composure to finish the chance.

And once you are in that mire of skepticism about your own ability as a player, it is often impossible to climb out of it.

A few high-profile misses here, another long and seemingly endless barren run of goals there and soon the pressure of scoring a goal can be too great for some players, most notably Soldado in this case.

Some players, for example his team-mate Adebayor, are born with the innate idea that they have the quality to score and in this unwavering self-belief, they are able to perform irrespective of the pressure on them.

For Soldado to have succeeded in the Premier League, a prospect looking increasingly unlikely by the day, he needed to score a few early on – easy tap ins, which would have reinforced his belief in his own ability.

Who knows what could have been the case had the Spaniard had more luck in the earlier stages of his Tottenham career, he may have even gone to lead the scoring charts, God knows he has the ability to do so.

But its that perpetual lack of luck that plagued him in the dawn of his career in England that has moreorless set the trajectory for the rest of his career in the Premier League.

What would be best for Roberto Soldado now, would be to move from Spurs to one of the Spanish clubs reportedly interested in him, Villereal and Real Sociedad to name a few.

From there he could rebuild his name and confidence, in a league where he is held in the highest of regard by many Spaniards and perhaps end his career on a high note in his native country instead of squandering his precious few footballing years at a club in a league where he is belittled by many as a failure.

Should Soldado leave this transfer window, I will always respect him as a player and as a man, his record before Tottenham tells of a poacher with a real eye for goal and his time at Tottenham has showed him to be a man of extreme professionalism and determination despite his ill-luck in front of goal.

Not the player many expected to be written into Tottenham history as a mercurial goal-scorer, Soldado will remain in the memory of Spurs fans of a player who had the ability but who never had the luck nor the personal conviction to score as many as a man of his talents should have in the Premier League.

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  1. He had no service into the box. Not good enough service anyway. And when any kind of decent service came in he was completely shocked and it threw off his chance of burying it.

  2. Wrong formation for him basically, wish they had thought it through before getting our hopes up and wasting Bobby's time.

  3. I appreciate seeing an article that doesn’t beat Bobby down for the situation that I believe caused his and the other purchases failure during that time.

    I’m not hear to bash Levy, but

    • He never really got the service and then lost his confidence. Walker can’t cross, Rose hit and miss, inverted wingers not the set up you need for a poacher striker. I wish him the best and it would not surprise me to see him back to goal scoring with the right set up. Not sure we ended paying $26 million for him.

  4. Sorry – connection problems

    To continue –

    the typical Spring blowup and bad luck that kept us out of the C/L in Bale’s last spring.

    The massive change in coaching style and starting personnel was to much for new players, who have never played in the EPL, to get properly bedded in to the team.

    We actually started off very well that fall, but instead of focusing on added depth for our starting 11, we went out and bought a whole new team. Once some of the new players got shaken – through injury or loss of form – our team imploded. We had no backup.

    As far as Bobby’s issues, our midfield hadn’t gotten used to the speed of play to give proper service into Bobby.

    In our match against the MLS Allstars, when Kaka did that beautiful touch to Villa – the first thing that popped into my mind was that was “that is the kind of linc up Bobby should have been getting.”

    Sad thing is that Levy had to write off the season after AVB imploded. He could not find a great coach to come in so quickly – especially under these circumstances. By the end of the season the team morale was so bad that we needed to rebuild again.

    This time, the club did the correct thing. They brought in a coach who spent last season evaluating the team, and this summer, he’s moving the players out who lack the belief in the club.

    I’m sorry that Bobby came in when he did, but that’s history.

    I hope the best for him, and I will be pulling for him to get his form back this fall –

  5. no lack of effort,works real hard…..but so does tommy sweeping the road for the council..he don't get payed 50k+ a week and is damb sight more useful…..his positional play was muck…..any player can slide a foot to late and miss a goal by an inch…or go to early and ball clips behind you…or run near post when the whole world can see winger is crossing high to back post…………..but every time ..every day for two years…….he looks like count Dracula cos he s afraid of crosses.


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