Spurs: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg a more inspired signing than Gareth Bale

Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Gareth Bale has finally hit top form in his second spell at Tottenham.

He took his time. Upon returning to North London in September, the 31-year-old only started one league game in 2020, but his fortunes have turned around in recent weeks as he has recorded six goal contributions in his last four top-flight matches. 

Excitement is building at the club as to what he can achieve in the remaining weeks of the season. Meanwhile, another summer signing has gone quietly but effectively about his work - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Bringing Bale back to the club wasn't rocket science - despite a few quiet years at Real Madrid, his world-class quality was always undoubted.

When signing Hojbjerg though, Daniel Levy and Mourinho recognised the value in a player without such a preceding reputation, and his potential to further grow upon being placed in a higher quality team.

Admittedly, Hojbjerg did not get off to the best of starts. On his debut against Everton, Tottenham were beaten 1-0 and he was unable to assert his authority on proceedings, receiving a match rating of 6.45.

Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. Indeed, he has only received a lower rating than his debut mark once all season.

It is understandable that Hojbjerg goes under the radar. He does not provide the goal threat that Harry Kane and Son Heung-min do, and Bale's flair over the past month has been breath-taking.

Yet the Danish midfielder, who is currently valued at £27m by Transfermarkt, has proved to be a shrewd piece of business from Spurs. Hojbjerg has been an ever-present for the team this term, and outstanding in the holding midfield role.

He has made 35 interceptions across the course of the campaign - more than any other Tottenham player, whilst his total of 71 tackles also puts him top of that category for the side.

He is not a spectacular player, but does the basics very well. That is why manager Jose Mourinho rates him so highly.

Speaking about Hojbjerg back in December, as reported by Goal, the Portuguese coach said: "Physically he's very, very strong and technically he's much better than people think. Because sometimes people think the guy that is good technically is the guy that does the backheel.

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"The guy that is good technically is the guy that does something wonderful. But these are not my words. These are words from coaches of 30, 40 years ago. Simplicity is genius.

"And the guy is so simple in everything he does with the ball. And I think he's a phenomenal player."

Hojbjerg's ability to carry out the dirty work has allowed Kane and Son to flourish throughout the season. Bale has added another dimension to the attack, but Spurs proved that they could cope without him. 

Would they have fared so well without Hojbjerg? That seems unlikely and for all the glamour Bale's brought to Tottenham, in many respects the former Southampton man remains the more inspired signing.

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