As rumors of Gareth Bale leaving Tottenham Hotspur have reignited across Europe in recent days, former Spurs manager and star player Glenn Hoddle has pleaded with the Welshman to stay at White Hart Lane.
Bale is reportedly being targeted by Europe’s top teams, as Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona eye up a massive transfer for the darling of the English Premier League.
But if Bale heads abroad, Hoddle doesn’t think he will reap the benefits straight away.
“If he does move, I think he will settle easier at another club in England. And the only ones he can realistically join are Manchester United and Manchester City.” Hoddle continued. “He could get Champions League football there. But I want him to stay at Tottenham. He is still young enough to secure a move abroad later in life when he could cope better with it.”
With England’s richest club chasing him and Spanish giants readying their checkbooks, how can Bale resist the temptation to move to a team regularly challenging for domestic and European trophies?
Tottenham aren’t budging and have already made it clear that Bale is not for sale, at any price. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy must be sick and tired of addressing Bale rumors.
Recently Andre Villas-Boas claimed he had assurances from the Tottenham hierarchy that Bale would remain in North London. But he did say that things could change.
One of the reasons why that could change would be because Barcelona or, more likely, Real Madrid, come in with a world-record transfer fee that would be too good to turn down.
Bale’s transfer value is around $100 million, with Madrid President Florentino Perez already speaking out about how they admire the player. Perez now has Ancelotti in charge and with the aim to bring the glory days back the the Santiago Bernabeu, Bale could be the main man for Los Galacticos. Barca have brought in Neymar, so their pursuit of Bale could have ended.
But would Spanish soccer suit Bale? Bale’s explosive pace would unease defenses that usually soak up pressure and have time to mark their opponents. Bale, like Ronaldo, could play anywhere across the front line and roam towards the space and create havoc.
But if the 23-year-old attacker does make the switch to La Liga, he runs the risk of being too fast for his teammates.
That sounds daft. But hear me out. Bale possesses incredible pace and once he gets going he can’t be stopped, if anything he accelerates quicker after the initial 20-30 yards. But in Spain the concise and patient build up of attacks dominates, while the EPL is back and forth and hustle and bustle, where Bale’s quick counter-attacking runs are met with his teammates flooding forward in support.
I can’t see that happening in Spain too often. It may just be Bale against the defense and despite him being an exceptional player, one player versus four or five is only going to end one way.
Cast you memory back to when Arjen Robben joined Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2007. The Dutch winger loved to open up his legs and drive at opponents on the break in the EPL. But in Spain he was restricted and he just never looked comfortable in the possession based game. You can see how the more direct style in Germany, following his move to Bayern Munich, has brought out the best in Robben once again.
I’m not saying Bale will fail if he does move to one of the big boys in La Liga. But like Hoddle said, it will take some getting used to and perhaps Bale should remain in the country which suits his style of soccer best. AVB and Spurs will hope that’s the case.