It now seems like it will only be a matter of time before Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale is sold to Real Madrid. The fact that Daniel Levy is prepared to sell his most prized asset is surprising to most football fans; with Tottenham’s owner notorious for his hard-nosed attitude towards transfers. However, it seems that Real have come to Tottenham with an eye-wateringly large amount of money, and at the end of the day; every player has his price. The figure Real will pay is mooted as being between £90m and £100m – a figure that would smash the world transfer record.
There’s no doubt that if the transfer does go through, Spurs fans will be upset at losing their best player. However, what is likely to upset Spurs fans even more is the possibility that the Bale fee is not adequately reinvested into recruiting new players. If Levy does sell – which now seems likely – he must keep his fans happy by spending a decent chunk of the money that Madrid hand over on some high quality replacements.
However, as Daniel Levy has experienced before; it’s very difficult to buy players when you’ve just sold a player for an astronomical amount of money. In 2008, Tottenham sold Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United for £30.9m, but only had a day to buy a replacement striker before the transfer deadline. Every club that Spurs approached were well aware of the substantial amount of money burning a hole in Levy’s pocket, and could no doubt smell the desperation as Spurs desperately tried to acquire a replacement for the Bulgarian. This resulted in Tottenham purchasing Roman Pavlyuchenko for £15m – a figure that far exceeded the Russian’s worth.
Liverpool found themselves in a similar position in January 2011, when they agreed to sell Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50m. This was no doubt a huge amount of money, but unfortunately for the Reds, they only had a day to buy in a replacement for the Spanish striker, and ended up spending £35m on Andy Carroll – a figure that far exceeded the young Englishman’s worth.
If Bale does go, this is precisely the situation that Spurs are likely to find themselves in. Clubs will know that Spurs are desperate to buy some replacement players and will also know how much Spurs have to spend; the net result being that clubs will ask for more and more exorbitant fees for their players.
So, assuming the Bale transfer does go through, where should the £100m (approx) be reinvested? The whispers are that Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is hoping to spend the bulk of the Bale fee on a new left-back, centre-back, winger and striker. Let’s briefly consider those 4 positions:
Tottenham’s current left-back is none other than Cameroonian Benoi Assou-Ekotto; and although he is a fans favourite, this is one position that Spurs could certainly improve upon. They will have to pay top dollar to so though, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see AVB move for someone like Everton’s Leighton Baines; the likelihood being that Spurs could need to stump up at least £20m to bring the freekick specialist to White Hart Lane.
Spurs have actually just let a centre-back leave; with promising youngster Steven Caulker departing to join newly-promoted Cardiff for £8m. This indicates that Tottenham are fairly happy with their central defensive options with Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul all great options in the middle of the park. As far as recruiting a new centre-back goes, Spurs are either likely to spend big to find a truly world-class defender to play alongside Vertonghen, or they’ll buy a promising youngster with great potential.
Tottenham have already bought Nacer Chadli to play on the wing, but with Bale’s departure they’ll most likely need another player who can play out wide. Wingers of really quality are somewhat difficult to find though, and consequently Spurs may have to shop at one of the big clubs in order to find a player who can really improve their squad. There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Manchester United winger Nani, and the Portuguese is certainly a player who could improve the Tottenham side. Whether United would be prepared to sell remains to be seen, but this may be the direction that AVB looks in.
Perhaps the main thing that Spurs would miss if Bale were to depart would be goals. Bale’s goals were crucial in helping Spurs to their highest points haul for many years last season, and the Welshman’s goals will need to be replaced if Spurs wish to resume their assault on the Champions League spots. Levy has already sanctioned a move for Roberto Soldado, and Spurs will be hoping to bring in one more striker. The question is who? Part of the reason that Spurs have struggled to buy a striker is that there aren’t that many truly world-class frontmen around. Given the amount of money Spurs have to spend, a move for a striker at an established club cannot be discounted: a player like United’s Hernandez spends most of his time cooling his heels on the bench and may fancy the promise of regular first-team football.
Let’s not forget that if Spurs wish to play the same formation next season, the chances are that they’ll also have to buy someone to replace Bale. Bale currently plays in a free role behind the striker, and so if Spurs are seeking a like-for-like replacement, they’ll be shopping for a creative no.10 who provides goals and assists. This may just be rumour mongering, but it’s worth stating that Wayne Rooney appears desperate to leave Old Trafford, and may fancy a new challenge at Tottenham. The Croxteth-born superstar has already won everything there is to win, so the lack of Champions League football is unlikely to deter him from joining Villas-Boas’s Tottenham revolution. Just an idea.
These are exciting and scary times for Spurs fans. The way that Bale money (assuming he goes) is reinvested could make or break Tottenham’s season, and Tottenham supporters can only hope that Daniel Levy has some sort of strategy in place in order to get the players in who will improve his side. Are Tottenham’s transfer summer sagas over? They’ve only just begun.