Tottenham wasted Gareth Bale's transfer fee - here's why

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In September 2013 Gareth Bale joined Spanish giants Real Madrid for a world record fee of £85.3 million. Tottenham may have accrued a huge transfer fee but they lost their most influential player in the process.

The Welshman left White Hart Lane on the back of a 26 goal season which saw him win the PFA Players' Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year and the FWA Player of the Year. The winger had come of age at Tottenham and lit up the Premier League.

However the failure to qualify for the Champions League and the lure of Madrid meant that Spurs were never going to be able to hold on to their star man in the summer of 2013.


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Tottenham's response to losing Gareth Bale was to immediately reinvest the money they gained from his sale. Andre Villas-Boas was quick to delve into the transfer market in an attempt to fill the void left behind by the departure of their Welsh wonder.

In total seven new players were recruited. The results of that summer spending have been mixed. The business done by Villas-Boas has been heavily criticised and it's one of the reasons that he's no longer at the club.

Here's how the seven signings made in the summer of 2013 have fared at White Hart Lane...


The Brazilian had impressed at the Club World Cup and Confederations Cup in 2013. It was enough to convince Tottenham to invest £17 million in the Corinthians midfielder who had been likened to Frank Lampard. However any hopes that he could emulate the career of the Englishman were quickly dashed as failed to live up to expectations.

Things started well for the Brazilian as he was named Man of the Match in his first Premier League game for the club. He managed 30 league appearances in his debut season but his campaign was disrupted by injury.

Following the sacking of Villas-Boas during the 2013/14 season Tim Sherwood was appointed manager. This spelled trouble for the midfielder who regularly found his role in the team changing under the new manager.

He went to the World Cup in the summer of 2014 and was part of the Brazilian team that were humiliatingly beaten 7-1 by the eventual winners Germany. Paulinho returned late for pre-season at Spurs which didn't bode well for his season ahead.

The 26-year-old did not fit the new style of play that manager Mauricio Pochettino was trying to implement at the club. He managed just 15 Premier League appearances as he was regularly overlooked for younger talent such as Ryan Mason.

In June 2015 Tottenham offloaded Paulinho to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande. Remarkably they managed to get £9.8 million for the player. He leaves White Hart Lane with his confidences in tatters. The promising Brazilian failed to make an impact at the club and he will not be missed by the fans.

Verdict: MISS


Undoubtedly the best bit of business that Tottenham did that summer. The Dane had been linked to a number of Premier League clubs before Spurs captured him for just £11.5 million.

The young midfielder had caught the eye of many a scout playing for Ajax in the Eredivisie. He made a quick start at Spurs and scored his first goal in a Europa League fixture on 19 September 2013.

The midfielder managed 25 Premier League appearances in his first season. His goal tally of seven was respectable for a player still adapting to the demands of English football. One of his most significant contributions of that season came on 23 March. With Southampton leading 2-0 the Dane scored a brace to draw Tottenham level before setting up Glyfi Sigurdsson for the winner.

However it wasn't until the 2014/15 campaign that Eriksen really announced himself to the Premier League. He was a key player under Mauricio Pochettino. He struck a number of late winners during the course of the season, including goals against Swansea, Sunderland and Hull.

One of his best performances of the campaign came in the League Cup as he scored twice to help Spurs to victory over Sheffield United. The first of his goals was a stunning 30 yard free-kick.

One minor criticism of Eriksen has been his tendency to go missing in the big games. He will certainly be hoping to improve on his performances against the big guns next season. However this was a small blip in an otherwise excellent second season.

He played in every Premier League game and managed an impressive ten goals. At 23 he is still developing so there is reason to be very excited.

Verdict: HIT


Some foreign players take to the Premier League like a duck to water, others struggle. Unfortunately for Tottenham £26 million striker Roberto Soldado falls into the latter category. When the Spaniard arrived in the summer of 2013 he looked to be an excellent signing.

He joined on the back of a 30 goal season for Valencia and was a proven striker, the perfect man to take over the goal scoring burden from Gareth Bale.

However things have not turned out as well as they were meant to. The forward has failed to recapture the form of his Valencia days. He was another signing who made a promising start to his career in England.

On his league debut he converted from the penalty spot to give Spurs a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. In his next game he found the net twice in a 5-0 win against FC Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League.

Despite a good start to the season he could only manage six goals from 28 games in the Premier League. It was a disappointing debut season for someone who had been such a sharpshooter in Spain. There was hope that in his second season he would be able to adjust to the Premier League. However his struggles continued last season.

The emergence of Harry Kane as one of the hottest young strikers in the country kept the experienced Spaniard out of the team. He managed 24 appearances for Spurs but 17 of those were from the substitutes bench.

Goals were once again hard to come by and he managed just a single strike in the Premier League and a mere five in all competitions. From two seasons he has just seven league goals to his name. He's 30-years-old now and Harry Kane is very much the main man meaning Soldado's time at the Lane could well be up.

Verdict: MISS


The Belgian arrived in July 2013 for a fee in the region of £7 million after impressing at FC Twente. He joined Tottenham after scoring 18 goals in 38 games for the Dutch club in the 2013/14 season. However Chadli failed to match those kind of goal scoring feats in his first season in England.

His debut season at Spurs was a frustrating one. It took him until February 2014 to score his first Premier League goal when he found the net in a 4-0 drubbing of Newcastle. He finished his debut season having made 34 appearances in all competitions, scoring just five goals.

Chadli was a number of signings made with the Bale money that was criticised after his debut season. However, unlike others, he stepped up to the plate in his second season at the club.

The 25-year-old winger suddenly found form under Pochettino. He started the season much better in the 2014/15 campaign. His first goal came on 24 August 2014 as Spurs convincingly beat QPR 4-0. This was the start of a good run of form for Chadli.

Chadli scored against fierce rivals Arsenal and in Tottenham's stunning 5-3 victory over Chelsea in January 2015. Sadly his father passed away later that month which cut short his run of form. When he returned he struggled to match his form from earlier in the season but he did manage to score in consecutive games when he converted against Newcastle and Southampton in April.

He finished the season with 11 Premier League goals and 13 goals in all competitions. An excellent tally which would surely have been even higher if tragedy had not struck his family. Chadli's performances last season have saved a Tottenham career that a year ago looked like it could be coming to an end very quickly.

Verdict: HIT


The Frenchman arrived at White Hart Lane with seven international caps and 174 appearances for Toulose to his name. Experienced but still young it looked as if Capoue could be a long-term option in Tottenham's midfield. However after arriving in August 2013 he's hardly been seen since.

Capoue made his debut on 18 August 2013 as Spurs beat Crystal Palace. He managed just 11 more appearances for Spurs in the league that season as he struggled to establish himself under Villas-Boas. He managed a single goal from those 11 games.

As a defensive-midfielder, goalscoring was never going to be one of his main responsibilities but a mere 12 appearances was very disappointing from the near £9 million signing.

He fared little better last season. For the second season in a row he made just 12 league appearances. Youngsters such as Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb were regularly preferred.

He managed a single goal from 18 games in all competitions the exact same record he held at the end of his first season with the club. This is enough to show that he hasn't improved over the last year.

The fact that Wikipedia dedicates a mere three lines to Capoue's time at Tottenham just about sums up his career with the club, he has done absolutely nothing to justify his price tag.

He has now joined Watford for a club-record fee of £6.3 million. Spurs should consider themselves lucky to have been able to recoup such a proportion of his original transfer fee.

Verdict: MISS


The Romanian arrived from Steaua Bucuresti in August 2013 for a considerable fee. He made his debut for the club in a League Cup fixture against Aston Villa on 24 September. However it took him until 20 October to make his Premier League debut, also against Aston Villa. On 4 December he scored his first of two goal for the club in a 2-1 win against Fulham.

Unfortunately for the Romanian he could not hold down a regular first team spot in his first season at Tottenham. He made just 17 appearances in the Premier League. After featuring in less than half the clubs league games it was starting to become clear that he was not going to be a regular partner for Jan Vertonghen in the centre of defence.

His situation worsened in the 2014/15 season. Under Mauricio Pochettino he was restricted to just ten Premier League appearances. Italian club Roma tried to take him on loan in January 2015 but the fee offered was deemed too low by Tottenham. Instead he stayed at the club where he failed to make an impact. On 9 May he was shown red as Tottenham were embarrassed in a 3-0 defeat to Stoke.

The Romanian has shown glimpses of what he can do but he has not been a consistent presence in the team or a consistent performer. For the fee they paid for him you have to feel that Spurs could've done better. If Tottenham bring in a new centre-half then his days at the club could be numbered. MISS


Such a frustrating player because the talent is undoubtedly there. Sadly for Tottenham he has not shown it regularly enough at the club.

The Argentine was the club's most high-profile signing in the summer of 2013. Spurs smashed their transfer record to bring the Roma player to the club. Thus much was expected of the young winger.

Lamela made his Premier League debut on 1 September in a 1-0 defeat to North London rivals Arsenal. However his performances were disappointing in the early stages of the season. This prompted Villas-Boas to tell ESPN: "He knows he isn’t producing half of what he can produce, but he understands the situation now is that he has to compete for his place." 

It took the Argentine until 24 November 2013 to earn himself a first Premier League start. The player struggled throughout his debut season. The weight of his price tag, the new league and injury problems were clearly too much for him. After promising so much he was the biggest disappointment of the 2013/14 campaign.

Tottenham kept faith with their record signing and he started the opening game of the 2014/15 season against West Ham. He made an excellent start to the season under his new manager.

He claimed two assists as Spurs thrashed QPR 4-0. Lamela scored a brace as Tottenham beat Asteras Tripoli in the Europa League. The first of his two goals was an incredible Rabona from outside the box. This was the kind of talent that Tottenham fans haven't seen enough of from him.

His first league goal of the season came against Burnley on 20 December. He made 29 Premier League appearances in his second season with the club, a vast improvement on his nine from the previous campaign.

While his goal tally in all competitions improved, five was still disappointing for such an expensive player. Lamela definitely has the ability to succeed at Tottenham but after a mere six goals in two seasons, time is running out for him to show it.

Verdict: MISS


What do you make of Tottenham's signings from that summer? Let us know below!

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Mauricio Pochettino
Premier League
Real Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur
Andre Villas-Boas
Gareth Bale

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