When Gareth Bale completed his switch back to Tottenham Hotspur, the reaction from fans was that of pure ecstasy.
The return of the highly-decorated Welshman to White Hart Lane undoubtedly filled supporters with a sense of belief – A belief that anything was possible for the club in the 2020/21 season.
In Bale’s best season for Spurs (2012/2013), he almost singlehandedly carried the club to a fifth-place finish. He recorded 21 goals and 9 assists in 33 appearances in the league that season (TransferMarkt).
However, in the end, the club ended up missing out on a Champions League spot by just one point at the hands of fierce rivals Arsenal.
Despite his, somewhat surreal return, there will have also been the faintest hint of realisation amongst the Spurs faithful.
The truth is that Bale appeared a mere 20 times in all competitions for Real Madrid in the 19/20 season. As well as this, he has missed 28 games through injury over the last two seasons alone (TransferMarkt).
Combine these factors and we can express the theory that any expectation of Bale transforming back into the world-beater he once was is pure fantasy.
Having said this, Bale can still prove to be a worthy addition to the club. Writing him off already would be both naïve and disrespectful.
When Bale was at his peak during his time at Spurs, he was an idol to many, including me. This being the case, he deserves the opportunity to transform the latter stages of his career.
It is easy to scapegoat in football. Many will point fingers at Tottenham’s number 9 and suggest that he is content to sit on the side-lines and collect his paycheck each week.
However, the matter of fact is this: Gareth Bale must be given the chance to showcase his talent and ability. In order to do this, he should be presented with a consecutive run of games before anyone can pass any real judgement on him.
His few Europa League cameos have demonstrated his ability to occupy dangerous positions and drive into the final third of the pitch.
Given the chance; Bale could be key in the transition from defence to attack. More importantly, he would contribute more goals to our overall game.
Bale has only featured for 160 minutes in the Premier League this season (TransferMarkt). It should not be expected that he could ever perform to a high level on such infrequent game time.
Additionally, there have been reports that Bale has taken on a leadership role at the club and acts as a role model to the academy players (The Athletic).
If he can combine this, with a few decent performances on the pitch, he could help launch us into becoming the ‘title challengers’ we are seemingly desperate to be.
Interestingly, many inside Tottenham are puzzled by Bale’s regular omission on matchdays. ESPN suggest that the players are impressed with his performances in training.
If anything, this should give the fans reason to believe that we are yet to witness the full extent of Bale’s ability since his return.
Yes, it is likely we will never see Bale back in his former glory. What we can expect, though, is a much improved second half of the season from Wales’ most successful ever player.
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