Roberto Soldado’s season went from bad to worse on Thursday.
The Spain international striker has struggled for goals, form and consistency for Tottenham Hotspur ever since his arrival from Valencia in the summer of 2013.
The 29-year-old has fallen behind striker Harry Kane in the Spurs pecking order, but he was handed a start against Fiorentina in the Europa League on Thursday.
However, Soldado failed to justify manager Mauricio Pochettino’s faith in him and missed what eventually proved to be a very important chance in the first half.
In fact, had the former Real Madrid striker successfully taken that chance, then Spurs would have probably won the second leg of the Europa League round-of-32 tie in Florence and progressed to the last 16 of the competition.
Soldado was played clean through by Argentina international attacker Erik Lamela, but instead of shooting on goal past Neto, he decided to square to teammate Nacer Chadli.
The Fiorentina goalkeeper intervened, and the chance went begging. The Italian club scored twice in the second half to win the encounter 2-0 and advance to the last 16 3-1 on aggregate.
Soldado’s decision (pictured above) not to shoot on goal when every striker in the world would have done highlighted his severe lack of confidence.
The former Getafe star has scored just one goal in 17 Premier League appearances so far this season, and as many in seven Europa League matches.
Last season the Spaniard found the target three times in the Europa League and only six times in 28 Premier League matches.
Soldado cost Spurs £26 million in transfer fees when signing from Valencia in 2013, as reported by BBC Sport, but he has proved to be a waste of money.
The striker’s importance in the Tottenham team has dwindled over the course of the season, and he could well be on his way out of White Hart Lane, especially if he continues to disappoint and cost the team dearly as he did against Fiorentina.
Soldado has been given (almost) two seasons to show what he can do at Spurs, but he has not delivered.
At 29, the striker is not getting any younger, and one has to wonder if he will ever recover the form he showed in La Liga.
Tottenham are not going to get £26m back for Soldado, but if they get a younger and better striker in the summer transfer window, then perhaps they could sell him on the cheap and cut their losses.