Damien Comolli and Steve Hitchin are renowned as one of the best scouting duo’s in the footballing world, having highlighted sporting talents such as Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale to Liverpool and Tottenham, with both players going on to become global superstars. But during their period with Spurs, the pair also identified other future stars that the London club allowed to slip through their fingers.
One of Comolli and Hitchin’s joint scout report from their time with Tottenham has revealed that Argentinian superstar, Angel Di Maria was rejected by senior club officials despite a glowing appraisal from the two scouts.
In January 2007, Angel di Maria was a fresh 17 year old, playing for Argentina’s U20’s against Uruguay. In the scouting report, both scouts agree that Di Maria has remarkable potential to become an impressive player:
Strengths and Weaknesses:
Mental – He is an intelligent footballer who can see a pass and can also make a goal for himself. He has a great attitude and works a lot for the team defensively.
Physical – He is tall but also very slim, he is a well balanced left footed player. He showed he has good power on his left hand side and is a goal threat. He’s quick but you can see with physical development he can become quicker and stronger, he’s a player with massive room for physical development.
Tactical – He played behind a front two and was very productive in the first game, scoring two goals and could have had more. He was supposed to play on the left hand side for his club and I would have liked to see him play there.
Technical – He is a natural footballer who has a very good left foot, when he carries the ball he has similarities to Giggs. He would sometimes be guilty of shooting on sight but he showed the ability to score two goals in this game. He’s a player that makes the difference.
Both scouts agreed that Di Maria was on his way to becoming a world beater, and the scouts offered the player to Tottenham coach at the time, Martin Jol, but the latter refused. Benfica quickly snapped up the young Argentinian, but as his spell as Manchester United showed, Di Maria may have never been suited to the English game anyway.