Tottenham Hotspur: How Spurs Went from Mido to Rumors of Villa and Gomez

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2013

Mido celebrates scoring one of two goals against Portsmouth on his Tottenham debut in February 2005.
Mido celebrates scoring one of two goals against Portsmouth on his Tottenham debut in February 2005.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Former Egypt and Tottenham Hotspur striker Mido's announcement of his retirement, unsurprisingly, was not headline news in Premier League circles.

Last seen departing early from an unsuccessful stint at Championship club Barnsley, the former Spurs man's English sojourn had also taken in spells at Middlesbrough, Wigan Athletic and West Ham United.

These were among the latter stops in an eventful, occasionally controversial, footballing journey. From being one of the bright young hopes of African football, Mido's career quickly devolved into that of a journeyman who never quite fulfilled his potential.

This is not to say it was a wasted one, though.

Tottenham signed him on an 18-month loan deal from Roma in January 2005. Limited chances had seen him leave Serie A after only a few months, but the then 21-year-old was still an impressive capture for the recently appointed Martin Jol.

Mido had netted 12 goals as part of Ajax's 2001-02 victorious league and cup double-side—one that also featured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristian Chivu and Rafael van der Vaart.

Differences with manager Ronald Koeman saw the Egyptian depart Holland in 2003, though he impressed sufficiently enough at Celta Vigo and then Marseille to tempt the Giallorossi.

Portsmouth were the opposition for Mido's debut on 5 February 2005. Spurs won 3-1, with their new signing scoring twice in a confident display that showed the forward at his best—skillful and strong with a good eye for goal.

It was a glimpse of Mido's talent made all the more tantalizing for its ensuing scarcity during those opening few months. Though he would feature 11 times (scoring another in an FA Cup win versus Nottingham Forest), his inactivity at Roma had left him lacking fitness and looking to the following season.

That was something the player acknowledged in an interview with Spurs' official website during pre-season for 2005-06:

"I feel much better than last season," Mido reported that summer. "I knew before I signed for Spurs that the first five months would be difficult for me because I didn't have a good preparation at the start of the season and didn't play a lot for Roma."

Mido's efforts to get in shape paid off during a fine opening half to the season. With Frederic Kanoute having left for Sevilla, the 6'2" attacker reveled in being his team's primary "big man" (the recently arrived Grzegorz Rasiak proved less successful in his tries in the role).

Jol's preference for using a bigger forward alongside a smaller one meant Mido saw plenty of match-time. Alongside Jermain Defoe and, more latterly, Robbie Keane, he provided an adept counter-balance to his more diminutive partners.

Scoring ten times prior to heading for the African Cup of Nations in January, Mido was a big part of Spurs' great form. Losing only twice prior to Christmas, the first-team was firing on all cylinders as they moved into the top four.

An argument with Egypt manager Hassan Shehata during their semifinal win over Senegal saw the striker dropped for their subsequent final victory, as well as banned from the national team for six months.

Back in England by mid-February, Mido scored a crucial winner against fellow Champions League chaser Blackburn Rovers. But whether physical or mental, or both, the excursions at his host country's tournament soon seemed to have taken their toll.

Mido's drop-off in form after going on international duty saw a valuable source of goals dry up. It was not the sole reason, but it undoubtedly contributed to Spurs ultimately missing out on fourth.

Still, Spurs' fifth place was their highest finish of the Premier League era. They were back in Europe for the first time since 1999 and showed their intent with the £10.9 million signing of Bayer Leverkusen's Dimitar Berbatov.

After some haggling, Spurs also agreed to a permanent transfer for Mido (he had temporarily returned to Roma).

The North London club were in the beginning stages of a period of progression that—albeit with some ups and downs—has lasted to the present.

Speaking positively to about the extra competition for places, Mido seemed ready to adjust to the demands European competition would place on the ambitious squad.

Mido scored a great derby winner versus West Ham and contributed some good cup displays. Yet having fallen behind the brilliant Berbatov in the pecking order, the extent of his willpower to get back in did not match the size of his ego.

Leaving for Middlesbrough in 2007, Mido's career never again reached the heights he had at Spurs and earlier. Issues that he had at White Hart Lane—fitness, always wanting to play—were themes that would crop up time and again.

What might have been had he stuck around longer will remain unknown.

So much has happened for Tottenham since then, there is increasingly little tangible to connect Mido's time there with the present. As a marker of time though, it is fascinating to see the changes in the Spurs attack since he left.

Defoe remains, and is joined by Emmanuel Adebayor and auxiliary forward Gareth Bale, plus youngsters Jonathan Obika and Harry Kane. Even this group is likely to undergo change this summer.

Strikers of a similar age and reputation to what Mido was when he arrived are still viable targets—among them Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (linked in the Sunday Mirror) and Leandro Damiao (most recently linked in the Daily Express).

The notion of Tottenham signing some of football's most highly-rated known quantities does not seem as overambitious as it once did either. David Villa (Daily Express), Roberto Soldado and Mario Gomez (both Metro) are all reportedly on Andre Villas-Boas' transfer list.

As for Mido, his time at Spurs is now well and truly consigned to the club's history books. We wait to see what the names of the next strikers to join him there will be.