Bale sale would give Lewis Holtby chance to shine

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The speculation over Gareth Bale's future continues to rumble on throughout this transfer window and today Andre Villa Boas did confirm that the Welshman would have no part to play at the start of the season. 

Such a statement will not fill Spurs fans with confidence, but maybe Bale's early season absence or even his long term departure may not be so devastating a blow if a replacement is found, and far from needing to spend millions of pounds on someone to fill the void, there may well be one residing in our team already.

Back in January, Tottenham managed to secure the services of one of the hottest young properties in world football, Lewis Holtby. 

Courted by many of the best teams in Europe securing his signature was a fantastic achievement but the enthusiasm surrounding the deal seemed to lose its momentum last year as Holtby struggled to hold down a first team place. 

The lack of first team football for Holtby was in fact very much a by-product of Bale's own fantastic form, the German's favoured position is to operate centrally behind the striker - something he did to devastating effect whilst he was at Schalke 04 - but unluckily for Holtby, this also became Gareth Bale's favoured position.

This meant that the German was often pushed out wide, so Bale could be accommodated in his favoured, and most effective position.

But with Bale's role in the team seemingly up for grabs, now could be the time for Holtby to fulfil his potential and really make his mark on the coming season. 

Andre Villa Boas looks set to use a 4-3-3 formation this year and there is one of two ways that Lewis Holtby could be deployed in this system so that he can be at his most effective. The first option would be to give him exactly the same role as Bale enjoyed last season.

Although starting out wide, which we know is not where Holtby's natural game is played, he would be allowed to drift in off this flank without the worry of Bale or anyone else taking up the space that he used to playing in. 

Coming in off the wide position would also allow Holtby to wander into the pockets of space between defence and midfield undetected and from here he could do some real damage, feeding through balls to the likes of Lennon and Soldado and also providing a goal threat of his own. 

The second option would be to line him up in the midfield trio - from here Holtby could play as the most advanced of the three, making late breaks into the final third where again he could reap havoc with his close control and eye for a killer pass.

Personally, I see Holtby's future role as being part of the front three, coming in off the flank into the hole behind the main striker, operating simular to the way Juan Mata does at Chelsea. 

Whether Bale stays or goes remains to be seen, but if he does in fact trade North London for Madrid then Lewis Holtby could well be the perfect replacement.


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