After leading Queens Park Rangers to the Premier League promise land whilst showcasing his brilliance with a football, Adel Taarabt was bound to become hot property. Paris Saint Germain, looking to flaunt their newfound financial muscle, are the first club to make a formal approach for the Morrocan magician having placed a £13.5 million bid. With this it seems the question of could Taarabt dazzle the solid defences of Premier League outfits will remain unanswered.
Taarabt is an outrageously gifted footballer. Martin Jol, who coached Taarabt at Tottenham Hotspur, compared him to Zinedine Zidane in terms of skill. Last season he outwitted defences with his trickery, gliding past experienced full backs with ridiculous ease. He notched 19 goals, putting him fifth in the scoring charts. But he also topped the list in assists with 16 for the season. This end product ensured he became a hero to the QPR faithful, many of whom believe Taarabt to be the most gifted player to grace the Loftus Road turf for decades.
But like so many of football’s greatest mavericks, Taarabt has his flaws. He’s unwilling to track back, seemingly believing he is too good for such arduous tasks. Furthermore, like that one kid at lunchtime football who is in a different league to his peers and thus will not pass the ball to them, he can at times hold onto the ball when a simple pass is order of the day. These flaws are all fuelled by Taarabt’s unflinching self-belief in his own ability. He feels he is destined to be one of the games true greats, but to be considered amongst football’s elite he has to start mixing it with the big boys.
The Moroccan may never be given that chance at a truly top club as they could be unwilling to carry the excess baggage he trails along with him. It’s all well and good been unwilling to track back at a club like QPR where the likes of Shaun Derry are there to the dirty work but try telling Cristiano Ronaldo to do that.
A move to the bright lights of Paris may be too good to resist for the Moroccan although he should note that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Taarabt would just become a number at such a big club and would have to conform to team disciplines. This is what happened at Spurs, where Harry Redknapp finally tired of his individualism even though he recognised his immense ability on the ball.
It is the reason Southampton was the right club for Matt Le Tissier, another unique talent, because the team was then built around his ability. Le Tissier would not have got that freedom anywhere else, and the same applies to Taarabt at Loftus Road. While I’m at it, it’s probably the same reason Blackpool is the right club for Charlie Adam.
The likes of Taarabt, Le Tissier and other mavericks capable of moments of brilliance are what make football the awe inspiring sport it is.
“He’s frustrating at times but if you paid money to watch any player you’d pay to watch him. My lad comes to the matches just to watch his tricks. You look at boring England and realise we need people like Taarabt to excite us.” Neil Warnock
Warnock’s words could not be truer. Too often, players of Taarabt’s kind are dismissed for what they don’t do instead of praised for their rare brilliance with a ball at their feet. The mercurial playmaker is the prime example of a luxury player, a dying breed in today’s game as teams look to stick to the tactical plan instead of accommodating and encouraging geniuses to thrive. He may not track back and he may have a poor attitude but his ability with the ball is something you can’t put a price on. Well maybe you can, £13.5 million might just do the trick.