He was once compared to Didier Drogba. At 22 years of age, he had a World Cup appearance under his belt. And in 2010, he was almost signed by then Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.
Now Trinidad and Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones has joined Al Jazira from English second-tier side Cardiff City on loan for the rest of the season. It is the latest move in a career that has delivered less than it promised.
No doubt the move will be seen by some as the Arabian Gulf League attracting another player whose best days are behind him.
It is not something that player and club should concern themselves too much about.
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With last season’s top scorer Mirko Vucinic out for the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury, the struggling Abu Dhabi club desperately needed a goalscoring presence up front.
For Jones, it will offer a chance for him to stamp his mark on a league where, for varying reasons, some of the leading forwards have found the going tough for this season.
Alongside Vucinic, Al Ahli’s Rodrigo Lima has been ruled out for at least three months, Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike has come under criticism at Al Ain, and Edgar Bruno has struggled at Al Wasl.
This could be the ideal time for Jones to put his name in the headlines.
At 31, he possesses all the qualities needed to succeed in the domestic league. International experience, brute strength and an aerial ability to dominate UAE defences.
There are plenty of cases of experienced, physical forwards succeeding against often naive AGL defending. Former Al Wahda and Al Jazira striker Fernando Baiano had plenty of success from 2008 to 2012, scoring more than 50 goals. So did the Brazilian Grafite for Al Ahli. Edgar Bruno at Al Shabab, Makhete Diop at Al Dhafra now, and Ibrahim Toure at Al Nasr, all bullied defenders.
For Al Jazira, the addition of Jones should bring about a change of approach from new coach Henk ten Cate.
During last season, Jazira’s fluent team relied on the quick interchanges between Vucinic and Ali Mabkhout for the bulk of their goals. But after a poor start to this season that saw Brazilian Abel Braga depart as manager, the team will have to be far more direct if they are to maximise Jones’s strengths, which could be what the club had in mind with the signing of Spanish winger Angel Lafita.
At his best for Sunderland and Stoke City, Jones was a formidable target man and has maintained a goal in four matches ratio throughout his career. In the AGL, that will not be good enough for the fans though.
As always, the shadow of previous big-name failures hangs over the new signing. As does the issue of desire.
The reason many overseas have failed in the past has not been any lack of quality. On the contrary, the likes of David Trezeguet, Ricardo Quaresma and more recently Ryan Babel are all gifted footballers who did not hit the heights because the simply looked like they would rather be somewhere else.
Jones needs to prove he has the motivation to go with his attributes. Time is not on his or Al Jazira’s side. He has a six-month deal and we all know how quick Jazira can be to ditch their foreign players.