The Bale transfer: Winners and losers

A lot more trophies might be in line

A lot more trophies might be in line for the Welshman.

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.

The next biggest rivalry in football.

The next big rivalry in football.

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.

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Samba boys take on La Roja tonight

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Two completely different sets of players, representing two different Worlds of football, take on each other tonight. The Spanish side, representing the glamorous European football, and Brasilia, representing the intense and passionate South American brand. The former believes in ruling possession of the ball, making their opponents work and tire out, then finding chinks in the enemy lines. The latter believes in box-to-box stuff, creating chinks themselves in enemy lines with the pace and passion we have come to associate with Brazilian football. Spain are technically gifted, Brazil enormously talented.

Spain’s style of football, with their patient passing, has often been termed boring, sometimes even ugly. But it is efficient. And it works for them. It is no football fluke that they have won consecutive World and European titles, and they will be looking to add this elusive trophy to their brimming cabinet.

Brazil is a team of fresh young blood, tipped to mark a new Brazilian era in World football. And the Samba boys are eager to get started on a magnificent journey.

At the individual level too, an interesting scenario will develop. The Spanish centre backs Pique and Ramos, will be keeping a keen eye on Neymar, not only to keep his quick feet from tearing through, but also because come August, for one he would be the comrade, for the other, enemy number one.

All in all, it would be a riveting battle, one that I will not miss (even though it’ll keep me up till 5 in the morning) !

The transfer window so far…

At the end of every season in May every football fan laments the idea of no football for the next 3 months or so. But ironically, every year in June and July the football World keeps buzzing with that very spice of the game called the transfer window. Nopes, the football frenzy never ends.

This year’s summer window promises not to be any different. And so far it has lived up to the promise. So lets have a look at what has the window given us so far.

There is always that one player that stirs the market with whirlpools of anticipations and speculations. This year’s Man of the Window Award goes to… you guessed it right, Neymar da Silva Santos ! The transfer period is not over by any means (ask Daniel Levy), but such has been the hype and anticipation surrounding the Samba sensation that the choice requires no further candidates.

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Over to the Premier League now. As always, the spoiled child of Premier League wanting his hand on everything, City has been linked to each and every player that has been of significance in the market. Isco, Cavani, and Lewandowski have all been in City’s wishlist, who have already bought Jesus Navas and Fernandinho. But their most crucial signature has been of the new manager Manuel Pellegrini from Malaga. They finally had enough of Mancini, after he reportedly declared the acquisition of Roger Federer as vital to surviving the group stages of Champions League.

Tottenham Chelsea and United have been quiet except for one signing each. Yet.

Away from the Neymars, the Iscos and the Lewandowskis, one club that has shrewdly kept its head down and been about its business quietly is Liverpool. Signed 4 players already without any fuss and in the hunt for Benteke too. Back in the top 4 picture they are.

Another club that needs mention is the French version of Chelsea, AS Monaco. Another club benefited from their Russian billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, buying names like Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez and Ricardo Carvalho. Soon these clubs are gonna deplete the billionaire specie, mark my words !

Well this was pretty much what happened in the transfer window so far. If I missed a signing, it wasn’t important. Well signing off for now, will post about the rest of the window as it progresses !