Taarabt joined the Lilly Whites in 2007 from French club Lens initially on-loan and then on a permanent basis. He came to White Hart Lane with huge expectations, after putting impressive displays in France. He showed a glimpse of his talent as a late substitute in a 4-3 Premier League win over West Ham United in March 2007.
But then as a 17-year-old, he could not break into the first team. He went on loan to fellow London club Queens Park Rangers and from then on he never got the chance to showcase his talent in Spurs.
He was known for his skill-full game-play and fantastic close-control dribbling but was often led down by his finishing. Taarabt was a nightmare for the defender because of his trickery.
Roller-coaster of a career:
Taarabt is a product of the Lens academy and broke into their first team in 2007. He caught the eye of several top clubs. But then Tottenham manager Juande Ramos made sure he joined his side over any other club. He was then considered as a real coup for Tottenham.
But despite his outrageous technical ability, he failed to cement his place in the first team. That pretty much ended his Tottenham career. Taarabt for ultimately shipped out to Queen Park Rangers, initially on a season-long loan and then permanently.
He showed flashes of his brilliant talent at Queen Park Rangers. But he was never really a consistent scorer for the London club. He made over a hundred appearances at the club over a span of four seasons. Taarabt had short spells at Fulham and AC Milan before moving to Portugal to join Benfica, where he currently applies his trade.
Now 31, he is enjoying the best days of his career at Benfica. And he looks finally settled at a club.
Taarabt admits failed Arsenal move:
Taarabt has recently said how he could have joined Tottenham rivals Arsenal. He also admitted that Tottenham did very little to help him develop at the club.
Speaking to his former Tottenham teammate Darren Bent, Taarabt said everything was planned for his move to Arsenal before plans changed. He told talkSPORT:
“I signed for Spurs because when I was in France, for us, we were watching the Premier League. But it was the top four. Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. But to me it was almost all done that I would go to Arsenal and then after Damien Comolli, who was working at [Tottenham], convinced me to come.
At the time I was playing at France Under-17s and I could have gone to all the big three in any leagues. When I signed I said ‘okay’, I go there because the project that he showed me, they want to believe, they are picking young players like Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker, they want to do something really good. But obviously, the first months to adapt it was difficult for me. I don’t think the club was helping me to develop and finish me as a player.”