Of all the top three Premier League movers that seemed imminent this summer, it could be argued that Wayne Rooney’s and Luis Suarez’s moves appeared the most likely to go through.
However, with three days of the transfer window left, it is almost confirmed
that it will be Tottenham's Gareth Bale out of the three that makes his big move to Real Madrid.
Bale stayed quiet and was apparently happy to allow the two clubs to negotiate amongst themselves. But as the deadline has drawn ever closer, even Bale’s total professionalism has wavered. Being described as ‘furious and frustrated’, the Spurs star even failed to show up for training on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. With Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas saying the move is ‘imminent’ it could be very well go down to the last day as it is reported Spurs want to wrap up their own transfer business before allowing the sale of their key man.
But with the deal pretty much concluded, just how will Spurs fare without their main star?
Two 1-0 victories in the Premier League may suggest they’ll miss Bale’s goal threat, but on paper, they are definitely a much stronger squad than they were last season. With the money spent it is also arguable that it has been done in preparation for the sale of Bale, with a clear ambition to make the team more rounded than it was dependant on the genius of one man last season.
Roberto Soldado has been the biggest arrival to date; costing Spurs £26m from Valencia, and with four goals in his opening three games for the club, would go some way to suggest that he is prepared to take the goalscoring burden and attempt to fire Tottenham into the Champions League.
The striking role was a massive problem for AVB last season, with Emmanuel Adebayor seemingly choosing when he could be bothered, Jermain Defoe never really cementing himself as the main top man, and Clint Dempsey looking limited in the role on the few occasions he was asked to play there, which often left Bale playing a more central role to seemingly justify the emphasis of him being their main goalscoring threat.
With Soldado they have a man who has a proven track record, has the strength to deal with the brutish defenders in the Premier League, but also the intelligence to be in the right place at the right time.
What Tottenham had last season, even with the sale of Luka Modric, was a strong midfield - one that although failed to weigh in enough goals for a 4-2-3-1 formation, is right up there in terms of overall talent.
This summer has made them even stronger, with the sales of Tom Huddlestone and Clint Dempsey, and the loaning of talented youngster Jake Livermore has seen the arrivals of Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Nacer Chadli.
Paulinho has already shown in his first few games for the club what a tremendous signing he appears to be, whereas Capoue is a solid holding midfielder who also offers Villas-Boas versatility, which could prove vital for a squad often dealing with injuries.
In Chadli, the Moroccan offers more of an unknown quantity, but one that does not appear to lack confidence and so far has seemed the man tasked with taking Bale’s position within the team. Alongside other talent such as Gylfi Sigurdsson, a returning Sandro, Andros Townsend, Aaron Lennon, Lewis Holtby and the highly-talented Mousa Dembele, Spurs definitely have one of the best midfields in the Premier League.
There are also positives defensively too, with Hugo Lloris more experienced to the Premier League, they have one of the finest goalkeepers in the world. With a returning Younes Kaboul, offering options for the central defence partnership alongside captain Michael Dawson and Jan Verthongen, Tottenham appear to be making the efforts to have strong competition along all areas of the pitch.
With new signing Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest added to the central defence competition, and the returning Danny Rose after a loan deal at Sunderland will challenge Benoit Assou-Ekotto, it appears only Kyle Walker lacks serious competition for his starting place, although Kyle Naughton may think otherwise.
Whereas the sale of someone like Gareth Bale is likely to damage any team in the world, Spurs have used this window consciously to create a more rounded squad of players. Bale won games single-handedly for Tottenham last season, but could not get Spurs into the Champions League, strength in all areas even without Bale means there can be no excuses for Tottenham this season, the top four is the minimum requirement, whereas a trophy should also be an aim too.
Imminent signings Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela will add further quality, with the former being touted for a move like this for some years now, whilst Lamela will add further quality upfront and may pave way for the inconsistent Adebayor to leave the club.
Whereas the departing Bale is a player who can make something out of nothing, this new look Tottenham can make something happen. All right now, appears well at White Hart Lane.
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