Mounir El Hamdaoui: What Liverpool Will Be Getting With The Wizard Of Rotterdam
Mounir El Hamdaoui has found himself on the margins of Vincenzo Montella’s plans at Fiorentina this season as the Viola coach has decided that his forward line needs a lighter touch rather than a battering ram.
With just two starts to name, the 28-year-old has been left to stew on the bench and when he has been given his opportunity he has wasted it; such was the case when he somehow missed an open goal against Cagliari back in November.
It has been a rapid decline in a player who when he arrived in Florence from Ajax was hotly touted to take over the main striker’s role from Alberto Gilardino who moved to Genoa and has since enjoyed something of a renaissance at Bologna.
The “Wizard of Rotterdam” has never really reproduced the magic in Tuscany and even the veteran Luca Toni has had more chances of late and with Giuseppe Rossi already signed up there is little doubt that he will be on his way in the summer.
He will be hoping that his next move will be smoother than his switch to Fiorentina ,which was delayed in January 2012 due to a fax arriving late so when he finally made the switch in July he had plenty of catching up to do.
He certainly seems a forceful character, having a major run-in with Juan Manuel Vargas in training but then when he needed to prove that he was the answer to the team’s lack of goalscoring he picked up an injury playing for Morocco which forced the club to turn to Toni as cover.
Injuries have blighted El Hamdaoui’s career since his blink-and-you-will-miss-it stay at Tottenham and a brief spell at Derby County back in 2005-06 and no doubt they have sapped his confidence every time he is forced to spend time on the treatment table.
An international call-up for the African Cup of Nations at the turn of the year did not help his cause either but there have been glimpses of what might have been, with a well-taken chipped finish in the win at Milan.
He also came on late at Torino to score an equaliser and produce a couple of eye-catching runs but his single-minded approach of head down charges towards goal does not fit in with Montella’s short passing game.
His last appearance from the bench came in the 4-1 thumping of Inter a few weeks ago but by then the quick-silver Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic had already plundered two goals apiece.
He was nowhere to be seen on Sunday, suffering as he was with a lower back problem and loan signing Marcelo Larrondo took his place amongst the substitutes.
With ten matches remaining to the end of the season, El Hamdaoui has a mighty task on his hands to even displace Toni and Larrondo on the bench and secure that “dream move” back to England.