After the amazing £100 million-plus spending spree carried out by Tottenham Hotspurs this summer, the departure of Gareth Bale is now only a matter of official confirmation. It earmarks the transformation of the club heralded by the arrival of manager André Villas-Boas last year.
So, how will the departure of last season’s holder of the PFA’s Players’ Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and FWA’s Player of the Year Award affect the Premier League and La Liga’s dynamics ? Who stands to gain from the most highly anticipated transfer of the summer, and who will not do so well because of it?
The first and foremost beneficiary is obviously the club that will enjoy the versatile winger’s services, Real Madrid. They might even be able to recover part of the enormous outlay by shipping off Di Maria, Kaka and Coentrao. With Neymar arriving at Camp Nou, the renewed battle between the two Spanish giants might be more breathtaking than ever.
In fact the focus might even shift from Messi vs Ronaldo to Neymar vs Bale, and that would be one hell of a competition. In that sense, La Liga followers might also be termed the winners, getting to see the 4 biggest names in football right now on the same pitch.
The next obvious winner is the player himself, who will be able to showcase his abilities in the best club football competition in the World, the UEFA Champions League. He will play alongside his idol Cristiano Ronaldo, and players like Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Isco. He will play against the best sides in the World, the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and AC Milan. One has to say that is where he belongs, and he now has a chance to prove himself against the best.
The more controversial question is about the future of Tottenham. How will they cope without the player who provided them 31 goals last season ? To be fair, that question has already been answered by AVB and Daniel Levy. Arrived at White Hart Lane have Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, who I reckon could provide them with a few goals this season themselves. In fact allow me to say Spurs have become a much better side without Gareth Bale. They have now depth and competition for virtually every place in the team and have been widely tipped major title contenders this season. They did not disappoint in their opening two fixtures, playing some eye-catching and flowing football, although winning by just one goal in each game.
So is everyone happy ? Life’s good ? Not really. There is a certain stubborn old Frenchman not far from White Hart Lane who has been eyeing these events with a typical frown on his typically worried face.
The summer overhaul of the squad by Tottenham is in major contrast to Arsenal’s meager two signings (yes, both free transfers), and the pressure is on Arsene Wenger to back his obstinate attitude with points on the table. He has put his impressive Champions League qualification record in jeopardy, and with important players getting injured, Spurs are most likely to finish above Arsenal after 18 years.
Meanwhile, Bale is in Spain with his lawyers to give the final touchings to his hefty 6-year contract. I’m sure his hands (or rather legs) would be itching to get started, as would the Spurs fans to watch their club finally trump Arsenal and just like the heads of Arsenal fans would be, trying make out which way their club is headed.