Real Madrid's ongoing pursuit of Tottenham superstar Gareth Bale has been the topic of the summer, but it is only a matter of time before the Welshman dons that (other) famous white kit for the first time.
With the announcement imminent, Bale will undoubtedly be a huge loss for the Premier League, but is his departure as big a blow for Spurs imagined?
The PFA Player of the Year notched 21 league goals last season, a tally only bettered by that of Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie. The question for Spurs however, is can these figures be met again in his absence?
The White Hart Lane team finished only one point behind Arsenal last season and any improvement on that means similar if not better stats than last term. Thankfully for manager Andre Villas-Boas, they have acquired a number of fittingly talented acquisitions over the transfer period, breaking their own transfer record a remarkable three times in the process.
The £30 million-rated Erik Lamela is set to be next on that list according to the Daily Mail, leaving Spurs’ spending at a total of £90 million - more than any other Premier League club this window.
The 21-year-old Argentine forward scored an impressive 15 goals in 33 appearances for Roma last season and the Spurs boss will surely be hoping for a repeat of that in England if the deal goes through.
A large part of that huge summer spending has been invested wisely in the addition of another striker, Roberto Soldado from Valencia. The 28-year-old Spaniard will bring not only a bundle of goals but also a wealth of experience to a relatively youthful Tottenham squad.
His goals alone will go a long way to reducing the deficit of Bale's departure, as the former Real Madrid man scored a remarkable 30 goals in all competitions last season in Spain. In fact, Soldado has remained the most consistent Spanish goalscorer over the past few seasons and a potential pair-up with Lamela can only bode well for and excite Spurs fans.
The big addition in midfield has been Brazilian maestro Paulinho - described as a box-to-box midfielder with an eye for a set piece - an asset which could prove crucial in replacing Bale.
At just 25 years of age, this talented all-rounder has much room for improvement and his performance in the Confederations Cup this summer showcased just how good a signing he could prove to be.
The middle is also bolstered by French international defensive midfielder Étienne Capoue and Belgian winger Nacer Chadli, the latter holding great Champions League experience and an impressive record of 25 goals in 84 appearances for former club FC Twente.
It is clear even before Bale's departure that Villas-Boas has managed to acquire an assurance of goals and a potentially world class midfield line-up. The recent exits of Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker, players of such quality Spurs could never before have afforded to lose, only highlights this increased strength-in-depth.
The real blow for Spurs however will be the loss of possessing a true game-changer and the ability to turn the tide of a match in one play; quite simply Bale's biggest attribute. They may have replaced the goals, the assists, the punch in midfield but no team in the world can ever replace such brilliance as Bale holds alongside his blistering pace.
Bale’s goal tally however rested at just nine during the 2011/12 season, demonstrating a surprising lack of consistency by the winger in this department. It could therefore be suggested that his incredible goal spree last term is by no means guaranteed to be repeated, meaning the astute additions Villas-Boas has made has ensured the responsibilities are spread throughout the team.
This may well place Spurs in a much better position than one would expect and remain favourites for the top four. Only time will tell if they can cope without Gareth Bale, but the sizzling summer north London has endured will ensure they go a long way to doing so.
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