After another stellar performance from Gareth Bale on Thursday night, it wasn’t surprising to see the inevitable speculation surrounding the winger’s future emerge in this mornings’ papers.
The Welsh wing wizard has been the subject of intense transfer speculation for the last few windows, with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid thought to be at the head of the queue should Bale decide he wants to leave White Hart Lane. Whilst these two clubs are steeped in history, tradition and above all success, would this be the best move for Bale?
There are definitely a number of reasons as to why Bale should stay in the Premier League with Spurs, but they do hinge on the north London club’s quest for Champions League football?
Currently Spurs are 4th in the Premier League table, just a point behind Chelsea and four ahead of arch rivals Arsenal. Last season they were extremely unlucky to miss out on Champions League football thanks to Chelsea’s victory in the competition, and this season it is clear that under new man Andre Villas-Boas, they are playing to one purpose.
Everyone involved with the club knows how important Champions League football is for Tottenham, not least because it could be the trump card in keeping Bale. A player of his magnitude deserves to be playing right at the top of world football. He will almost certainly never grace a World Cup so he needs to spend as many seasons as possible playing in the Champions League, producing performance after performance.
If Bale moves abroad he will competing with other world class players and it's highly unlikely that he would be played as much or be considered as important as he is at Spurs. At Tottenham, Bale is the centre of attention, at the moment he is Tottenham Hotspur, he his scoring goals galore in all manners possible whereas at Barcelona he will not be as important as Lionel Messi and at Real Madrid he will not be as important as Cristiano Ronaldo.
For many, Spurs are nearly there in terms of becoming a top, top team. The structure is good, the ground is decent with potential to expand, the finances are sound and above all the team is strong.
Losing Luka Modric was a huge blow but attracting players of high calibre is still possible if they keep stars like Bale and bring Champions League football back to the Lane. If Bale wants he could easily stay and spearhead Spurs’ assault on the established elite. At White Hart Lane he is number one and this is happening in arguably the toughest league in the world.
On the other hand, surely playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona can be considered the pinnacle of a player’s career? Especially with such an all-star cast currently playing for the two teams you can’t begrudge any player to want to play for either of these sides.
Barcelona are arguably the greatest club side in the world at the moment whilst Real Madrid, even without Jose Mourinho, will always have an indescribable lure for every player. Bale has never fully dismissed a move abroad and perhaps making that transition to La Liga could help him fulfil his potential as a player.
It is hard to deny the elevation of players such as Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez or Angel Di Maria since moving to Spain and that’s without mentioning the transformation of the man Bale is currently being compared to - Cristiano Ronaldo. Even his old mentor Sir Alex Ferguson has said recently he had no idea how good Ronaldo would become when he sold him to Madrid, and perhaps Bale could follow in the Portuguese footsteps? Regardless of Bale's next port of call, the club he chooses will undoubtedly play a high tempo and the training facilities that Barca and Real provide will enable him to hone his skills and advance his career.
Personally, I think Bale should stay in the Premier League although I’m uncertain as to whether he should stay with Tottenham. If he is to leave White Hart Lane the only club I think that would really benefit Bale would be Manchester United.
Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, with the United boss keen on width, Bale could really flourish. I’m sure Ryan Giggs would have much to offer and perhaps that could be enough to lure the ex-Southampton man?
For now, I think he should stay at Spurs and continue his development there. If Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League Bale should seek a move as soon as possible but as long as the top four is secured the Welshman should be happy in north London - for the time being at least.
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