Football

Why Real Madrid should sign Luis Suarez over Bale

Should Madrid turn to Suarez? (©GettyImages)
Should Madrid turn to Suarez? (©GettyImages).

Real Madrid have enjoyed a very fruitful transfer campaign to date.

There seems to be a shift in transfer policy at the Bernabeu, or, at least, a shift in the sort of players the club are targeting, but not in terms of the outlay.

Isco and Asier Illarramendi have both arrived with enormous transfer fees weighing down on them, while talented youth player Dani Carvahal has been brought back after a productive year in Germany.

Gonzalo Higuain, despite a great record in the Spanish capital, needed to move on and everyone was expecting an upgrade - Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao or Zlatan Ibrahimovic – to take Real Madrid to the next level and finally win La Decima. So far, it hasn't happened.

Instead, Florentino Perez has his eyes set firmly on Tottenham star, Gareth Bale. Earlier on in the summer, with tentative reports that Cristiano Ronaldo might move on, the potential acquisition of Bale made perfect sense.

After all, here was a player with a similar physique, similar style and similar explosiveness, who could help fill the void if the Portuguese were to leave. Now, with Ronaldo's future seemingly secure, the move makes less sense.

What Real Madrid desperately need at this moment in time is a centre forward. Not a winger, not a second striker, but a world class striker, to help provide a spearhead and take some of the goalscoring burden off Ronaldo.

In a summer where many top class strikers were available (albeit at extortionate prices), you have to wonder why the £80 million earmarked for Bale wasn't used to stop Cavani going to Paris or Falcao going to Monaco.

Real have little trouble attracting big names, being as they are at the pinnacle of European football, so it would have been an enormous surprise to see both Cavani and Falcao spurning a move to one of the biggest clubs in world football.

By all accounts, Real Madrid couldn't afford them. I beg to differ. If reports are true and they are considering making the Welshman the most expensive player ever, then they definitely have enough money to buy a world class striker.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they didn't get one of the two best centre forwards in the world, so who is left? One name springs to mind and that is Luis Suarez.

And yet, both he and Bale are in a similar situation, riding high after only one exceptional season in the Premier League, so are they worth the sort of ridiculous fees being banded about? That doesn't even take into account the Uruguayan's propensity for being a nasty piece of work, who single-handedly tries to drag the names of great European clubs through the dirt.

He did it at Ajax and now he does it at Liverpool. There is no doubt, however, that, on the pitch, with the stellar supporting cast available to him at the Bernabeu, he would be able to replace Higuain and maybe even improve on him. Indeed, the Argentine was a pure finisher, a goalscorer, whereas Suarez would bring much more to the table.

Both Bale and Suarez dragged their clubs, almost single-handedly, up the Premier League table last term and it is often said that such players have difficulty adapting to a situation where they are no longer the main man.

It has happened to Wayne Rooney at United, it happened to both Ibrahimovic and David Villa at Barcelona, as well as to Fernando Torres at Chelsea. Some players like and need to feel like top dog. Would Suarez or Bale struggle to come to terms with their secondary status at the Bernabeu? Ronaldo and Iker Casillas are top dogs there and you can't see anyone usurping them anytime soon.

In terms of adaption to La Liga, you must feel that Suarez, with his background and upbringing in Latin America, would adapt quicker to the Spanish game. It is also important to remember that, under Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid will play a different style of football.

Both Illaramendi and Isco were brought in to replicate Spain's tiki-taka approach and make Real a more patient, possession-based side. Bale, as we have seen in England, is more devastating on the counter-attack, where he can use his blistering pace and power.

Suarez, on the other hand, has had his most successful season playing under a coach who adores and mirrors the Spanish way of playing. Indeed, Brendan Rodgers values the same possession-based, technical football that Ancelotti wishes to instil next season.

He has, of course, had trouble creating that with a Liverpool squad lacking the requisite quality to master it and, in particular, a squad becoming notorious for its lack of strength in depth. Suarez is used to playing in technical sides. He had many successful years at Ajax, where possession and technique is paramount to the Dutch style of play.

It is not hard to see the Uruguayan playing in a similar formation to that he has enjoyed so much success in over the last year as well as in years previous at Ajax. Except, in Madrid, he would be playing in a front three with Ronaldo and Angel di Maria, not Stewart Downing and Raheem Sterling.

It is a potentially mouthwatering combination; the pace, movement and skill, supported by the likes of Mesut Ozil, Isco and Xabi Alonso creating the chances. Bale, if he arrived, would surely be an upgrade on Di Maria.

He would play from the right and cut in, just like Arjen Robben does so effectively at Bayern Munich. Ronaldo cutting in from the left with speed and power and Bale cutting in from the left in much the same way; a Ronaldo on both wings if you will.

The problem with signing Bale over Suarez is that it leaves Madrid with just one senior striker. Karim Benzema has done well at Madrid but has hardly set the world alight in the way that he was supposed to.

Many compared him to the Brazilian Ronaldo when he first arrived and, indeed, his style is in many ways similar. However, he has never been a true goalscorer. Despite being the number one striker at Madrid, the goalscoring burden has always fallen on the left-winger, Ronaldo. Real Madrid need an alternative to the Frenchman and, although talented, the youngster, Álvaro Morata, is not the answer. Not yet anyway.

Some have speculated that if Bale arrived, Ronaldo would be shifted to centre-forward to accommodate the Welshman, Di Maria and Ozil into the starting line-up. The Portuguese scores the number of goals he does by cutting in from the left and making the most of his pace and trickery.

Put him at centre-forward closer to goal and conversely his threat is reduced. Being directly up against the opposition's centre-backs would not suit him. Suarez is a striker and last season, he showed that, in the right system, he could be a true goalscorer as well as a playmaker.

You suspect that it all comes down to who is the biggest star. Perez wants a big name addition so that Real are not outdone by Neymar's arrival at the Camp Nou (a player that Real also desperately wanted). Is Bale a bigger star than Suarez?

Neither play for the big four in the Premier League and both have had only one superb season. Many still mistakenly refer to Bale as a youngster and yet he is 24. Suarez is 26. Is there really that much difference?

Bale won the award as the league's best player but I wonder if Suarez's character flaws played a part in that. Is either of them the league's best player or should that title belong to Robin van Persie or Juan Mata?

One must also take into account the ease of the transfer. Spurs are notoriously hard to negotiate with and would be loathed to sell their star player for anything other than a world record fee. Liverpool, on the other hand, seem more resigned to losing Suarez and would likely sell at around the £50 million mark, especially to a foreign club.

What do you think? Should Real Madrid make Suarez or Bale their marquee signing?

 

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Topics:
Liverpool
Real Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Gareth Bale
Luis Suarez

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