The riches of the Saudi Pro League turned more heads than an episode of Love Island in 2023, but it’s quickly become apparent that the grass isn’t always greener.
While the headlines tell us all about the success story of Cristiano Ronaldo, there’s a reality being ignored where plenty of players who flocked over to the Middle East at the first smell of life-changing cash have struggled to adapt.
Despite the league being nowhere near the level of Europe’s top five, some just simply cannot find their feet. That’s okay for players in the autumn of their career who can ride out the storm and retire infinitely richer, but not all fall into that category.
Off the back of an exceptional two seasons with Celtic, it was disappointing to see Jota take his supreme talent and potential to a league where attendances struggle to compete with England’s National League.
Two seasons blessing Scottish and European football with a mullet that George Michael would’ve been proud of and footwork that was enough to give spectators vertigo simply wasn’t enough.
Jota – still only 24 – took a life-changing move to Al-Ittihad in the summer, but it hasn’t worked out and he’s made just 11 appearances in all competitions after being frozen out virtually as quickly as he signed for the club.
Thankfully, there’s a man who used to manage the Portuguese winger who believes in second chances and the power of the word ‘mate’ too much to let that talent die by one bad decision.
Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham are exploring a deal to sign Jota according to reports, and we could not be anymore on board if we tried.
Not just because we need that gorgeous mullet on a Premier League touchline, but because he’s got the potential to become a world-beater at the highest level in the right conditions.
Zapping defenders with an outrageous ability to play off both feet, it’s astounding to think a man with such good vision with the ball at his feet couldn’t see that heading to Saudi Arabia so early on in his career was a mistake.
We learn from our mistakes, though, and should he make the move to N17, it’ll be Premier League defenders learning the hard way. The lad is dynamite.
The mullet, moustache and footwork trio that the game needs but doesn’t deserve. Proper football might be back with the return of a forgotten superstar.
Tottenham have already become a ruthless and completely unrelenting attacking force under the watch of Postecoglou, willing to put anyone to the sword with devastating counter-attacking.
Adding Jota into that mix with his consistently brilliant vision and weight of pass, combined with his ability to carry the ball and weigh in with a goal himself sounds like a dream come true.
Just imagine Son Heung-min and Brennan Johnson latching onto those through balls. In fact, don’t do that – because you’ll be up all night fearing what could become the deadliest trio since The Shield debuted in WWE.
Notching 15 goals and 12 assists under Big Ange during his second and final season at Celtic, Jota has proven he has a consistent eye for goal and earned himself the chance to strut his stuff on the big stage before his Saudi misfire.
He’s now got brownie points to earn once again. But if a reunion with his former boss at one of the Premier League’s most exciting, attacking clubs – at a cut price – isn’t fuel to get back to that level, then we all may as well give up.
Portugal’s mullet maestro was born for the Barclays.
By Mitch Wilks