Who is Mohammed Ihattaren, the potential reinforcement of Slavia Prague?

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Mohammed Ihattaren is a member of PSV and started his professional career here. And very soon – on 26/01/2019, 14 days before his 17th birthday, he was given a minute on the pitch by the then coach of the Eindhoven club, a former successful footballer, Mark van Bommel. This was the start of a great career, which was predicted for him by all Dutch football experts. And it must be said that everything went in the right direction.

After a promising junior career, the footballer’s foray into adult football continued. By the end of the 2018/19 season, he managed to intervene in another 11 matches. The Dutch football public raved about the creative youngster who, from the position of an offensive midfielder, was able to accurately set up chances for his teammates with his left hand and also finish them himself.

Despite the competition in the form of the Uruguayan Pereira and the Mexican Gutiérrez, the youngster managed to get into the lineup and the first goals came. In August 2019, he scored in the Eredivisie against Heracles Almelo and also in the Europa League qualifier against Apollon Limassol. The rise continued despite a personal family tragedy. In October of the same year, the footballer’s father died, who had a tremendous influence on his development and career management.

Without his steady hand, the problems faced by many Moroccan teenagers living in the Netherlands – spending most of their lives on the streets among their peers – began to manifest. Although they have a Muslim faith and a strong tradition in the family and its hierarchy, at the same time, the Western world with all its attractions is around them. The young footballer was no different and began to spend extravagantly on consumer goods, hanging out with street hustlers and neglecting the lifestyle of a professional athlete.

His performances went down sharply. For the 2020/21 season, the German pragmatist Roger Schmidt became the new coach of PSV, and Ihattaren essentially lost his place in the lineup. The Dutchman’s approach to training began to be addressed publicly for the first time after a significant decline in form and weight gain. The player himself also showed for the first time a typical phenomenon of his personality – putting himself in the role of a victim. He saw the problem solely in the new coach’s methods. And even though he found favor with part of the local football community due to Schmidt’s peculiar management, it was clear that he would not continue at PSV. He scored his last match for the Farmers (Boeren), as the Eindhoven club is called, on 24/04/2021 when he came on for 7 minutes for the star Mario Götze.

Photo: Profimedia.cz

Mohammed Ihatteren comes on for Mario Götze.

In the summer of the same year, there was an unexpected transfer, in which the player’s agent Mino Raiola certainly had a hand. He prepared a move for his ward to Italy, specifically to Juventus, who in turn sent him on loan to Sampdoria Genoa, from which Patrik Schick, Milan Škriniar and Bruno Fernandes also bounced back to great careers. However, Ihattaren did not copy their path, he himself was already on the downward path in his career at that time. In October 2021, he went back to the Netherlands to visit his sick mother and never returned. All this without playing a single minute at the Genoa club. He let his agent know he wanted to quit professional football and completely cut himself off from contact with the outside world. Raiola stopped working with him before his death.

In January 2022, Ihattaren returned to Juventus. In good faith, the Italian club sent him on loan to his native country, to Ajax, who have vast experience in working with youngsters, to kick start his career. After almost two years of suffering and detailed care, things started to look promising again. The footballer was given a chance in Jong Ajax in the second highest competition and eventually got into matches for ‘A’. But in preparation for the new season, he mysteriously disappeared again.

Ajax decided not to assign him a jersey number, did not put him on the roster for the Champions League and finally did not even use the option to transfer from Juventus. A year later, in June 2023, the Italian giant also terminated the contract with him. At that point, Ihattaren had not played a competitive match for a year. In August of this year, Ihattaren could still sign a contract in the Turkish Samsunspor, however, the club resigned from this possibility at the last minute due to constantly increasing financial demands.

Mohammed Ihattaren is a really good and very talented footballer. He can see and play things on the field that no one else can. He has a gift. But the past has shown that he has a difficult character. He probably does not like the harsh environment and attitude. He is a creative person who needs gentler handling and care. His personality was also shaped by the Moroccan, Muslim, closed environment. It seems that he can express himself fully only when he feels among his own. So he would need some time and protection in that regard.

After the death of his father, he went through depression, maybe even anxiety and a generally dark period. He is an extremely risky guy for Slavia. But if she accepts it, it could be a big win for her as well as the player himself. Ihattaren is a 2002 vintage, still very young. He will mature as a person and the experiences will dissolve in his head. The question is whether both sides will have the patience.


The article is in Czech

Tags: Mohammed Ihattaren potential reinforcement Slavia Prague

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