WHO: Gareth Bale
FROM WHERE: Real Madrid
TO WHERE: Tottenham Hotspur
FOR HOW MUCH: £20m ($25m) loan.
GRADE FOR TOTTENHAM: B+
GRADE FOR REAL MADRID: A
Bale is back. Eight years after leaving Tottenham Hotspur, Gareth Bale returns to the club which made him famous. Is he better than how he was upon departing? Not really. Realistically, the Welshman will have to really pick up his performance-levels to meet the standards he set in his initial stint at White Hart Lane.
Having gained the reputation of an injury-prone player who loved playing golf more than for Real Madrid, Bale has a lot left to prove. But with his expertise & impactfulness, he’s the perfect piece to suit Jose Mourinho’s short-term ambitions at Spurs. As a new era dawns at the club, Bale will look to use his world-class expertize to finally end their barren trophy drought this season.
WHO IS HE?
Arguably the best Wales player of all time, Bale has (nearly) won it all at club level. He won 4 Champions League titles & 2 La Liga crowns with Madrid, including 3 in a row from 2016-2018.
He’s scored twice in Champions League finals (including THAT goal against Liverpool), being part of various Team of the Year awards, won the Premier League Player of the Year award (2012-13). In his career, Bale has scored 166 goals & picked up 138 assists in 499 appearances and brings tons of experience to Spurs.
IS THE PRICE FAIR?
Bale arrives on a one-year loan deal, mostly because the demands for a permanent one were so high. But Spurs will definitely feel good about securing such a top-class player and club icon for around £20m (including wages & the fee).
Sure, Bale breaks their wage structure & automatically becomes their highest earner, but he’ll bring that extra bit of class & winning mentality to light up their attack.
WHAT IMPACT CAN WE EXPECT?
Spurs have almost acted like Bale’s knight in shining armour, saving him from the ‘prison’ he was stuck in. Indeed, the Welshman had no place in Zinedine Zidane’s squad and only worsened the situation with his antics on the bench. But now he’s at a club where he’ll definitely get more play-time & perhaps be ‘loved’ more by the fans as well.
The biggest bane currently holding back the winger are his injury issues. He’s been extremely injury-prone in recent years & needs to get over that obstacle to make this deal work. This aspect can make this a make-or-break deal for his career because of Bale’s injured for too long (quite possible), he’ll (rightfully) be labelled a washed-up has-been.
Fortunately for him, he’s got a brilliant mico-manager in Mourinho who knows how to handle his players accordingly. The Welshman obviously can’t play week in, week out but be reserved for the top matches, knowing how he loves making an impact when it matters the most.
Despite his age, Bale is still an extremely dangerous player. He’s still blessed with impressive pace & acceleration to blaze past defenders with ease. His instincts around the penalty area should also add that bit of unpredictability to Spurs attack this season.
Sure, he only contributed 5 goals in 20 appearances last season, but Bale wasn’t given enough time or backing to really shine through. Spurs system should, however, suit him better because of how it indulges those at front. Of course, playing in Mourinho’s defensive formation, he’ll have to work extremely hard to recover possession & be adept defensively.
Yet it’ll be his pace & power that will benefit them most in counter-attacks. He can easily carry the ball forward from his own half into the opposition penalty area to cause havoc & that should add an element of fear for oppositions. Bale’s unpredictability can’t be undermined either, as he’s known for scoring brilliant long-range goals or creating amazing stuff out of nothing.
What will perhaps excite Spurs fans the most is his impending connection with Harry Kane & Heung-Min Son. Two of Spurs’ attacking jewels will love a leader like him beside to guide and create stuff for them. If the trio can work on their link-up play & general understanding, their chemistry can make Spurs’ attack among the very best in the Premier League.
Being the most experienced man in the frontline, he’ll probably take the backseat & look to open up space for his teammates. But also as ‘the star of the show’, expect Spurs’ attack to indulge Bale to take regular swipes at goal.
If the winger can just stay fully fit for the whole season and rediscover his mojo from a few years ago, Bale could truly elevate Spurs’ attacking style from being predictably dull to actually exciting to watch. If not and he fails, his career at the top could be over.
Tottenham Hotspur (B+)
Bale’s signing could be a game-changer for Spurs. He’ll add the winning mentality the squad desperately needs to win stuff and produce memorable stuff. Yes, he probably won’t play regularly (which is a negative), they have backups to replace him & allow Bale to shine in the big games. Commercially, he’ll help them make millions in revenue & easily make up for what they’re paying for him. The winger also gets to play regularly at a place he’s worshipped. Win-win for both parties!
Real Madrid (A)
Madrid must be delighted finally getting Bale out of the club. His departure means they’ll only have to pay a small portion of his insane wages & his toxic, frustrating personality won’t cause the club bad PR either. It’s not like Zidane’s side needed him anyways, so getting some money to get him out is very profitable for them.