is gareth bale too good for spurs ?
So, news today reckons that Gareth Bale will be leaving Spurs for Real Madrid in a cash plus player deal worth £100 million.
That's a lot of money.
But the news broke, through an anonymous source when he was away with Wales a week and a bit ago, that he revealed that he had played his last game for Tottenham.
So, his attitude, if this is to be believed, changed from one of a player who wanted to move but wasn't saying anything (other than leaked titbits about how disappointed/distressed/furious he was that he wasn't getting his move to Madrid) to one who was renouncing the team who he became a star with.
All carefully orchestrated stuff, including a gluteal injury (also known as a pain in the arse) which then became a foot injury ... possibly because of it's proximity to his mouth. So, why did this situation come about ?
Back in 2007, when he signed for Spurs in a deal that could rise to as much as £10 million, Gareth Bale was a player with huge potential, but he had played only 45 games and although he was developing a reputation as a big player for the club, such luminaries as Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would not splash the cash on him at that stage of his career. But Daniel Levy, a shrewd operator, was in the process of buying up young talent in England, with a view to putting together a team that would grow together. And if they didn't, with the prospect of selling them on for more than they cost.
Some Spurs fans think that this is all that Levy is interested in. With the chairman's reputation as a last minute wheeler dealer designed to bring players in at the lowest price and to ship ones out at the maximum profit. But isn't that what he is supposed to be doing as chairman of the club ? The best financially for Tottenham Hotspur.
Come the end of this transfer saga, which has frankly dragged on too long, but just the right length of time for Levy to extract the most he could out of the Spanish club, Gareth Bale might be the ultimate Levy signing. Brought in for what turned out to be around £5 million once we paid off some of the conditional payments in a lump sum to cash-strapped Saints, then sold for a world record £100 million.
While most would have loved for Gareth to stay, the fact that he wants to leave means that all the waiting might be worth it.
But his situation now is in stark contrast to his early days at the Lane. Coming to a Premier League club, he suffered injury, loss of form and of course, the infamous run of games without a win with him in the side. Loan spells at Nottingham Forest (with the possibility of a permanent deal) were rumoured. But the club stuck with him, as there was belief in his ability.
If he had taken the route to Forest, would he have followed in many other talented players we have had who went onto oblivion after leaving Spurs ? Maybe or maybe not, but there is no doubt that the managers he has had at Spurs have all had an input into the development of the player he is now and the realisation of that early promise is a joint enterprise between the player and the club. He said (and Michael Dawson repeated this week) that although he has a marvellous season in 2012-13, he couldn't do it all on his own ... although it seemed like it sometimes.
The comments about being a one man team have some credence, but the other players were just as important, just not as noticeable as he took on defences solo.
Bale is one of the finest players in the Premier League and probably the world. Real Madrid would not be interested in him if he wasn't.
So, if he thinks he has outgrown the club, then he has. There will be no changing that in his mind ... even if he stays. He has decided that his future is elsewhere and all Tottenham can do is let him go with our good wishes. But get the most out of the buying club and perhaps stick some other conditions (sell-on, first refusal, etc) in there for when a transfer to Manchester United/City is his dream move.
He was seen wearing a James Dean T-shirt as he drove out of the training ground one day. "Life Fast, Die Young" was Dean's motto and it it certainly a metaphor for Bale's latter time at White Hart Lane.
So, with Spurs a team flirting on the edge of Champions League qualification, they had to realise that Bale was too big for the club. We are one of about six clubs battling to reach the holy grail of the CL. In Spain he will be one of two who can win the title and have CL football almost guaranteed. However, he might need to look at the 'big fish in a small pond' scenario that Modric has discovered himself in at the Bernabeu. Some players have already expressed doubts about his ability and whether he is needed, while Raul has now said that he is over-priced. Others will be envious of the wage packet he will be handed. He might find some sections of the Madridistas might not adore him like the fans at the Lane.
And their devotion came from his scintillating performances, but did too much of the play end up revolving around him, as it did when Hoddle ruled supreme ? Did other players take on supporting roles, when they could have been major players in their own right ? We might now find out, as some players might blossom, without the shade of Bale's brilliance ... especially with the new signings who have already come in.
While AVB clearly had a close relationship with the team's star, he may now be secretly relaxed about the sale of Bale, as his preferred formation is 4-3-3 and without someone playing that free role across the front-line, he might be able to slot players into the set-up more efficiently. Certainly, the signings he has made indicate that he is looking for more goals from midfield, from the dynamic players he has signed. And with BAE being exposed behind him, this may have coloured the coach's view of what needed to be done in that position. Danny Rose's inclusion at the expense of Assou-Ekotto may yet be superseded by Coentrao's arrival. Whoever plays at left back this season might well get a bit more protection from someone sticking to their flank.
Leaving at this time might be Bale's wish to do so before the chance slips away for ever. But with the resources available from his sale, Tottenham Hotspur might become a bigger club than the one he is leaving. Certainly, the quality of players coming in are of that required to achieve the infamous next step and while Bale would be a loss to any team, it may not be one that is insurmountable.
It has been a pleasure watching him grow as a player and a man and if it is his desire to move to Real Madrid, then he should go with our blessings. It would have been nice to hear him come out and say he wanted to go, but the way things are these days, he would never be allowed to do that.
Just over 50 years ago, Bill Nicholson refused to pay £100,000 for Jimmy Greaves. Real have no such compunction in paying a thousand times that for Bale. I hope the pressure doesn't weigh him down.
And I hope that the money doesn't burn a hole in our pocket !!
The Funky Phantom
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