First things first, I can’t believe the Gareth Bale rumour mill is going again (El Espanol). It isn’t going to happen. It also looks like Paulo Dybala is going the same way. Yay! Nothing better than stories to get your hopes up which are entirely baseless.
Despite my better judgment telling me these are transfers that are simply never going to happen, there is a logic in going for these signings, and now may well be the time to do it.
I assume I don’t need to do too much persuading that each of Bale, Dybala and Skriniar would be an improvement to our squad. They are world-class players, after all. So, is there any way we could get not just one, but all three?
The amounts for each player are suggested to be around £16m for Bale (Sport), £90m for Dybala (Mirror) and £45m for Skriniar (FC Inter News). Yes, £151m is an absolutely huge outlay for any team, but despite this, buying them now makes financial sense. Here’s how…..
Firstly, the outlay can be mitigated through player sales to some extent. For instance, Ndombele has been muted as the makeweight in a straight player for player exchange with Skriniar (SportWitness). That essentially brings the outlay down to £106m. Add in £15m for Foyth (The Sun), maybe £5m for Rose (Shields Gazzette) and perhaps £13m for Lamela (despite it suggested Spurs would only sell for more than £20m by the Daily Star) and you bring that total outlay for transfer fees down to £73m. Selling Winks to Manchester City for £40m (Daily Star) reduces the outlay to £33m.
It’s still unlikely Daniel Levy would want to spend such an amount on players, but the logical financial argument suggests he should. Consider spreading the financial outlay over to the end of next season, and an initial outlay now makes a lot more sense.
Tottenham finished sixth last season, and that really was by the narrowest of three goal margins. It could just have easily been seventh. The difference in prize money between 6th and 4th is about £4m (Express). Achieving a top four next season, therefore, reduces the initial transfer outlay to £29m.
The big difference, however, comes through the reality of what ‘top four’ means. The difference in remuneration through qualification to the Champions League and the Europa League is stark.
Based on UEFA’s financial distribution model for this season it reveals that a club who participates in the group stage of the Champions League receives €15.25m (and a Top Four finish secures such participation). As such, mere participation in the group stage of the Champions League the season after next reduces the initial transfer outlay down to £15.3m.
For every win in the Champions League, a club the receives €2.7m, and for every draw they receive €900,000. That means that through the six group games to be played, if Tottenham can win a couple and draw a couple, the initial transfer outlay will be reduced to £9m.
The remuneration for making it to the knockout stages is then a further €9.5m for the last 16 alone. This reduces the initial transfer outlay to £500,000.
That’s right; not even £1 million pounds.
A transfer outlay now of £151m can essentially be clawed back down to less than £1 million.
IF (and it’s a big IF), the signings of Bale, Dybala and Skriniar would be enough for us to secure top four next season.
Would this team make it to the top four? Tell me what you think:
Aurier Alderweireld Skriniar Davies
Hojbjerg Lo Celso
Bale Dybala Son
I am sure a number of readers will also recognise the enormous stumbling block that signing three world-class players would present to our wage structure. Bale would require a continued contribution from Real Madrid (not unfeasible, I would argue), and Dybala would require parity with Kane at least or vice versa, but there is the freedom to an extent through jettisoning Ndombele, Foyth, Rose, Lamela and Winks.
In addition, one could argue the increased commerciality of the stadium and enhanced progression through cups and prize money could be adequate compensation for increased wages.
There is one more issue, however, and that is our Europa League status next season. Would those players want to come and play Europa League football? Realistically, absolutely not. In fact, there is only one way I can see any of them wanting to come to Spurs, and that is if they all come. Because if Daniel Levy turned around to one of them and stated he was signing all three of them, it would mean something. It would be a statement of intent. A vision of success that could be sold realistically. A season in the Europa League to stand a chance of really doing something going forward.
The question for Daniel Levy is what would signing the three of them achieve? Because top four, a title challenge, Europa League success, and maybe even a domestic Cup, would arguably make the initial outlay financially worthwhile.
Do I think it’s going to happen? No.
Would I like it to? Obviously.
Would it be financially prudent to sign them? Well, our recent stagnation in the transfer market has left us with the 6th/7th best squad in the league. Without significant investment, we can’t match Liverpool or Man City, both of whom are a lock for two of the top four places.
Otherwise, Chelsea are strengthening. Manchester United will strengthen. Leicester and Wolves are looking good. Arsenal are strengthening.
I don’t want another season wondering whether we will scrape into the Europa League. I want a season wondering whether we can win something, and more importantly I want a team that can do it.
We don’t have that currently, but with Bale, Dybala and Skriniar, we will do. So go on Mr Levy, give it a try it and let’s see what our side can do with some real investment. (Oh, and if we invest now and make the top four the next two seasons running, we will be quids in, so just go for it!)
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