‘I used to be adamant subsequent Ronaldinho had joined Spurs- what occurred subsequent was gutting’

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur star, Ledley King, once believed that his old team had secured the services of the ‘next Ronaldinho’ when they clinched a deal with Mexican prodigy Giovani Dos Santos.

King, who held his centre-back position at Spurs for over 15 years, had high hopes for Dos Santos after watching him demonstrate his skills for Mexico in an under-16s tournament.

In awe of the young talent who was then with Barcelona, King recommended Spurs to swoop in for the signing. Regrettably, Dos Santos’ career progress was hampered by his lifestyle choices, according to Harry Redknapp, and the Mexican did not reach the potential expected of him despite breaking into the Barca fold at such a young age.

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Speaking on TalkSport’s Drivetime, King recollected: “Not come up against one, but I’ve seen players who I thought were unbelievable. I remember watching Giovani Dos Santos when he was playing for Mexico in an Under-16s tournament. He looked just like Ronaldinho, but a younger version.

“I didn’t say, ‘Go and buy him’, but I just thought to myself that he was going to be a star. He ended up joining, but it didn’t quite work out for him. He was a big talent.”

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Giovani Dos Santos of Spurs is congratulated by his captain Michael Dawson after scoring his team's third goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Cheltenham Town at White Hart Lane on January 7, 2012.
Giovani Dos Santos joined Spurs after spending his teenage years at Barcelona

Despite the promising start, Dos Santos struggled to make a mark in the Premier League, registering just 33 appearances for Tottenham leaving King and co bitterly disappointed. He ended up heading out on loan spells to Ipswich, Galatasaray and Racing Santander, finishing his time at Spurs with just three goals and three assists.

Former Spurs manager Redknapp questioned Dos Santos’ dedication towards the club, revealing instances of late arrivals for Monday training sessions due to the youngster’s partying habits as reported by Sky Sports.

After his loan stints, Dos Santos returned to La Liga, playing for Mallorca and Villarreal, before finally hitting his stride in the MLS with LA Galaxy, reports Football London.

Dos Santos racked up over 100 appearances for his native Mexico, clinching the CONCACAF Gold Cup on three occasions. He also bagged an Olympic gold at London 2012.

The Mexican winger made a total of 106 appearances for Mexico, netting 19 goals.