While Gareth Bale was setting La Liga alight in Real Madrid’s 7-3 drubbing of Sevilla last night, his old club Tottenham Hotspur were struggling past Hull City in the Capital One Cup.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side required penalties to beat their lowly Premier League opponents, and were 2-1 down during extra-time, until 20-year-old Harry Kane’s strike sent the match to spot-kicks.
Similarly, Spurs struggled against the same opponents in the league on Sunday, and it took an 80th minute penalty from Roberto Soldado to seal the victory.
Considering the amount of money the north London club splashed out on new players this summer, you would be expecting them to show a little more flair than they have done of late.
Tottenham’s total spend surpassed a whopping £110 million this summer, with Erik Lamela (£30 million), Roberto Soldado (£26 million) and Paulinho (£17 million) the most expensive players.
The huge outlay also included the signings of Vlad Chiriches, Christian Eriksen, Naser Chadli and Etienne Capoue.
Villas-Boas’ new signings have yet to prove that they can help Spurs push for a Champions League spot though.
Jermain Defoe is the club’s top scorer this season with eight goals to his name, while Soldado has scored just six, despite starting two games more.
Andros Townsend has shone so far this season but has only scored twice, while Lewis Holtby has provided more assists than any other player at White Hart Lane with five – both players were already at the club.
There was a blatant need to rebuild following Bale’s departure, but rather than go out and buy an obviously world class player, Villas-Boas played safe by signing a number of up and coming players.
What he has missed so far this season though is one single player who is capable of changing a game with a single moment of magic – essentially Gareth Bale.
Former Spurs midfielder and manager Glenn Hoddle, according to the Daily Mail, explained: “Tottenham – post Gareth Bale – still need to find a sprinkling of stardust.
“Much as I was impressed by the strength and power that manager Andre Villas-Boas and his director of football Franco Baldini have injected into the squad this summer, an orchestrator, a creator, someone to produce that spell of magic or the key skill to unlock a defence is not there.”
And that is precisely why they have missed Bale so much – albeit a task that would have been almost impossible, they simply did not purchase a player of the same immediate quality.
“Spurs need someone to pick the pockets of opposing teams,” Hoddle continued. “Bale is not a playmaking creator, but he did make things happen. He was able to unlock teams with his power, pace, shooting ability and sheer force of will.”
While their new signings still have plenty of time to progress, Tottenham are not yet the full package and a top four finish this season, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City looking strong, could be difficult.