Andre Villas-Boas has made his and the Tottenham board’s intentions clear regarding Gareth Bale and the importance of keeping him at the club.
Tottenham must keep Gareth Bale: this is not only the call from the manager but is also the general public consensus if Tottenham are to take the next step into the Champions League, and into Premier League contention.
The last day of the Premier League saw Spurs just miss out on that final coveted Champions League spot. They did their job on the day, emerging 1 – 0 victors from their match with Sunderland, but unfortunately their destiny was not in their own hands, and an Arsenal win with the same score line at St James’ Park meant that they finished fifth.
The significance of finishing outside of the top four is great, and is so in more than one respect. Spurs will miss out on the massive financial rewards of qualification, there is the obvious fact that they will not be part of the world’s most prestigious competition, and it will make recruiting and retaining the best players a difficult task.
Indeed it is that final desire, to keep and recruit the best players, which many are talking about now, because Tottenham have heavily relied upon the goals and talent of Gareth Bale this season. Andre Villas-Boas will of course have his own transfer targets for the summer, but he has made it clear that his most important task will be to keep Gareth Bale at Tottenham.
The manager said after the game, “We have to keep our ambitions high and hold on to the best players. If we want to make it better next season we have to hold on to our best assets and this is what I have been told from the top.”
He went on to pay tribute to the impact that Bale made during Sunday’s game, something that has become rather typical of the Welshman. He described the Bale winner as “another great moment of individual brilliance” and it is for these kinds of moments that Tottenham will be so desperate to retain his services.
21 goals from midfield is a fantastic total, and it is his goals for which he will most be needed at the club. The only other player to have reached double figures in the squad is Defoe (11) and after that the only player to score more than 5 goals is Dempsey (7). This is the degree to which Tottenham have relied on Bale. Indeed it is frightening to imagine where Tottenham would have finished without Bale’s goals this season.
He has not been as much as a creative force however. In fact, with 4 assists, he has fallen dramatically short of what one may have expected of him. This can be excused to some extent by the fact that his role is very much that of the goal scorer. Indeed, rather than looking for the defence splitting pass, Bale often opts to go directly for goal, and it is hard to blame him given his tally and also given his unique ability to find the net from any distance. Still, it is the obvious area of his game for him to work on.
There are some suggestions that it would be better for Tottenham to cash in on Bale and use the money from this to rebuild the squad so that they are not so reliant on one individual. If you take a look at Chelsea and Arsenal, while they may have their own strongest players, their attacking threat is multi-pronged. The likes of Mata, Hazard, Oscar and Lampard, and Carzola, Walcott, Podolski and Giroud have shared the responsibility of goals and assists for their respective clubs, and that has ultimately made a difference in their league standings.
There is, on the other hand, no reason to suggest why Tottenham could not keep hold of Gareth Bale and continue to build their squad anyway. They are not a poor club and with some of their most important players to return from injury next season, most notably Sandro, they are only a few quality signings away from taking that next step. Avoiding an over-reliance on one player does not necessarily have to culminate in the selling of Bale.
Whether or not you believe that Tottenham should cash in on him or keep him, nobody would try to deny that he is by far Tottenham’s most important player, and the club have made clear their intentions on keeping him.
The Champions League is the means for keeping your best players as well as attracting them to the club. Bale certainly doesn’t seem desperate to leave, but naturally the bigger clubs around Europe are eventually going to come knocking on the door. If an outrageous offer is made, and if it is a destination that Bale is interested in, it will be hard for Tottenham to keep him.
What shall work in Tottenham’s favour is the fact that he is on a long-term contract and so they are not pressured to sell. If they want to keep him, they can; they are capable of building a team around him. However, if you take the examples of Berbatov, Carrick and Modric, there is reason to believe that he could be sold despite this.
Ultimately, it is only Bale, the manager and the board that know how likely his exit is. Indeed it seems that the Tottenham target for summer is to keep him.
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