Gareth Bale’s name has become almost as recognisable around the world as that of Cristiano Ronaldo. Unlike his Portuguese teammate however, his career has been strikingly more humble. From his position as an above average left-back to a world record transfer to Real Madrid, few could have predicted the Welshmen’s sudden rise to stardom. However, it has not altogether been a move to satisfy Spurs’ fans, as they’ve been forced to say goodbye to a player who captivated like no other. The question is, were Tottenham right to sell Gareth Bale?
To the casual reader, Bale’s transfer was not dissimilar to Luka Modric’s move to the Santiago Bernabeu. In both cases the wishes of the player influenced Tottenham’s decision. Would there have been any sense in holding onto a player who was not fully committed to the club? If Bale’s performances were to be dramatically affected by his lack of commitment, then it’s very likely he would have simply left at a later stage and for far less money.
Tottenham have made in excess of £85 million. In the summer transfer window their overall spending rose to well over £100 million, with both Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela making up the majority of this figure. This is money that was just too ludicrous to decline and it’s allowed Tottenham to invest in other areas of the field rather than just replacing Bale, as well as put more money aside to develop the infrastructure. Spurs’ fans will know that the club has been investing in its youth academy for quite some time, and have only recently started to see some results; Nabil Bentaleb has now become a recognised first team player at White Hart Lane.
Arguably, Gareth Bale was becoming something of a one-man army in North London to the extent that his team mates were becoming overshadowed. It’s always entertaining to watch great players, but Bale’s dominance forced the club’s goal scorers out of the picture. For the first times since the Welshmen’s virtuoso display against Inter in the Champions League, Tottenham’s strikers are top scoring in the Premier League. This shows the improvements the club are making to rid themselves of a dependence on one character.
One reason why it was so important to detach from this dependence on Bale was the 24 year-old’s injury concerns. In his last full season in England, Bale missed five matches in all competitions through injury, missing both Everton fixtures and the Europa League semi-final with Basel where the Swiss side emerged victorious. He was sidelined for the opening of the 2013-2014 season and has missed a total of 11 matches for Real Madrid so far. Long-term concerns or not, this was not a problem Tottenham could have when so much was riding on their star player.
Bale’s involvement at Tottenham had, in some ways, begun to resemble points in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career. The Swede has been the centre of attention wherever he’s played and recounts in his autobiography how he’d often find himself playing on pain-killers, having been rushed back from injury. At AC Milan the team became utterly dependant on the strikers goal scoring and even now at Paris Saint-Germain, alongside talented goal-getters such as Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, a lot still depends on Ibrahimovic getting on the score sheet.
For these reasons it was important not only to break ties with Gareth Bale but also to ensure the team was competitive in all areas as they continue without him. Spurs are likely never to receive such a lucrative offer for any player and the financial injection has allowed them to purchase players for various positions who are of a higher grade; with the primary objective still Champions League football. If Bale had remained at White Hart Lane, in the knowledge that the club had turned down an offer from Real Madrid, then they would have only been prolonging the inevitable. Bale’s desire to leave was unequivocal and Spurs fans should be pleased he didn’t end up joining one of their English rivals.
It would be foolish to think Bale will never return to Tottenham Hotspur. Should his career in Spain not go completely to plan, then there will always be a warm, inviting place for him in the Tottenham starting-eleven free off a mountain of pressure.
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