'Arsene knows' is a popular motto among Arsenal fans (although whether it is quite as popular as it used to be is a topic for another day).

Yesterday, Arsene Wenger branded Real Madrid's pursuit of Gareth Bale as a 'joke', referring of course to that massive bid (rumoured to be as high as £100million).

And he was right.

Unfortunately, he was talking about it in the context of Financial Fair Play saying 'it made a joke of it', and not in the context of it being a ridiculous sum for a player who is not even among the best 20 players in the world.

1. Lionel Messi
2. Cristiano Ronaldo

3. Andres Iniesta
4. Franck Ribery
5. Robin Van Persie
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
7. Thiago Silva
8. Bastian Schweinsteiger
9. Arjen Robben
10. Andrea Pirlo
11. Neymar
12. Edinson Cavani
13. Radamel Falcao
14. Robert Lewandowski
15. Marco Reus
16. Manuel Neuer
17. Ilkay Gundogan
18. Giorgio Chiellini
19. Arturo Vidal
20. Luis Suarez

Put those players in any order you like – they are all still better than Gareth Bale. And that is just a selection of players who are better than he is.

It doesn't even include players like Vincent Kompany, Daniele De Rossi, Yaya Toure, Wayne Rooney and David Villa, all of whom had mixed seasons last year but who, on their day, are superior to the Welshman.

It is a sad state of affairs when any club spends £100 million on any player in these economic times but to pay that much for a player who is not even the best in England is sacrilege.

Yes, he scooped all the individual awards last year and he is, no doubt, a wonderful player but one great season does not make him worth a world record transfer fee.

To see Bale next to the likes of Ronaldo, Kaka, Ibrahimovic and Zidane on the list of all-time record transfer fees is unbelievable.

Scandalous fees have become all the rage this summer but both Cavani and Falcao have been world class for several years now and are among the top three strikers in world football.

The above list may contain defenders and midfielders and not just attackers but that does not mean it is not a fair assessment. After all, Bale is not even among the best five wingers.

So while it is difficult to compare different players from different positions, one cannot deny that there are many more players worthy of the title 'the most expensive player ever'.

That said, there is no reason why Bale couldn't become one of the best players in the world. He certainly has all the tools. The question is whether he would be overshadowed at Real by the stellar supporting cast, including another special talent, Isco.

For me, a move to Manchester United would make more sense. There he could become the heir to the legendary Ryan Giggs as well as his own idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.

He has proven that he can thrive in the English game whereas British players have, on the whole, been far less successful in La Liga than they were in the Premier League. Just ask Michael Owen and David Beckham amongst others.

Had Sir Alex Ferguson still been in charge at United, then the likelihood of Bale going there would've been far higher than it is now. As it stands, the Manchester club, one of if not the biggest clubs in the world game, is having trouble attracting the big names.

Whether that is purely down to the relative unknown (and at this level, unproven), David Moyes, being in charge or whether it is down to money, no-one knows but what is certain is that Bale will not be moving to Old Trafford this summer, which is a shame.

Ferguson turned Ronaldo into the world's best footballer. There is no doubt he would've taken Bale to the next level as well.

Who is to say that if Bale were to stay with Spurs next year that he couldn't reach that 'next level' and have a year like Ronaldo had before he left for Spain? With additions such as Paulinho, Chadli and Soldado, and with Arsenal's abject failure in the transfer market, Tottenham are favourites for that coveted fourth spot.

The north London side have given him the stage on which he has shone - surely he owes them one more year out of loyalty to a club that has given him so much?

Leave them in the Champions League and prove that last season was no fluke and then that record-breaking transfer fee would look a little bit more justified. 

Of course, on the other hand, it is about time Andy Carroll wasn't the most expensive British player in history. A fee of around £40 million would be more than fair for a player who has won no major honours and has had only one great season.

That said, a world record move to Spain looks very likely at this point and yet staying in England for at least one more season and forcing his way into Europe's top twenty would be the better option.  

 

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Topics:
La Liga
Tottenham Hotspur
Real Madrid
Premier League
Football
Gareth Bale