Jonathan dos Santos: A Spanish Expert On Barcelona's Liverpool Target...
It ain’t easy following in your father’s footsteps and for Jonathan Dos Santos it was even harder trying to live up to the family name considering that he has two older brothers who are also footballers. His father plied his trade in Brazil, whilst his oldest brother Éder played in Mexico. The other Dos Santos brother, Giovani, well we all know about him and the problems he had and so it is a little surprising that the youngest of the siblings is considering a move to England.
Jonathan followed his brother up through the ranks at Barca. While at a youth tournament in France, the Catalan side had scouts who liked what they saw and they signed both brothers after a trial. With limited playing time, the older of the duo got restless and Tottenham seized an opportunity to sign the ‘Mexican Ronaldinho’. When Giovani left Los Culés, many said it was no big deal because it was the younger brother who was the talented one. He was making lots of headlines as a central midfielder and Arsenal were plotting with an idea that if they made an offer to the Mexican that a move to be close to his brother, who had just moved to London, would be too hard to turn down. In the end Barca tied him down and fans were looking forward to another Canterano coming through.
Yet, his time to bloom has yet to come. He has found himself on the sidelines waiting for his chance. Pep Guardiola promoted him from the B team but injuries and other players in form prevented him from getting his chance. He has been used in meaningless Champions League games and the early rounds of the Copa del Rey. He has played in a few league appearances but only as a sub. So far he has only made 25 appearances for the Barca senior team and has yet to score. It seems he, like his brother before him, is getting restless.
‘Next season is incredibly important to me. I want to play more and more often. At the end of the season, I will sit down and see what’s best for me’ he recently said. Why is next season so important? Well there is the small matter of the World Cup coming up. Already capped 8 times with Mexico, he knows he will need to move or play more to get into the squad but who is interested?
Last summer it was rumoured that he was offered to Arsenal as part of the Alex Song deal. Arsenal who were admirers seem to have gone off the 22 year old but it does appear that Spurs are not once bitten, twice shy as it is believed that they would be interested in bringing the international over to London if the price was right. Although according to the English press it is Liverpool in the driving seat, Spanish clubs also made loan offers last summer but failed in their attempts. In the end Tito Vilanova called him into his squad and he is part of the Champions League squad but La Liga clubs still remain interested as he fits the bill for a number of clubs.
While his older brother is seen as a temperamental character, Jonathan has a calmer head. Some class him as an attacking midfielder but he isn’t exactly that. He is creative but prefers to play in the centre of the park and doesn’t tend to move too far forward. His passing and vision are good and he can find a team mate with a long pass but don’t expect to see any defence ripping runs or glory dribbling. Pep got him to play as a defensive midfielder a few times at Barca and while he admitted the position was at first strange he also acknowledged that he felt comfortable there. He has also been used as a full back and it may be his versatility that will attract suitors.
Barca still rate him but with a good offer they may be tempted as they are currently full- staffed in that area. To throw a cat amongst the pigeons he recently came on for Iniesta against Mallorca, to play against his brother. This was seen as Barca doing one of two things. One, Barca were showing the midfielder he was still part of their plans but the second seems to carry more weight. With the league almost certainly wrapped up and with Tito looking at the Champions League, playing Jonathan was a chance to rest key players and also put the player in the shop window. Should he go, he will have offers but before he goes to London or England, he may want to seek out his older brother’s advice.