CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 25: Gareth Bale looks on as he sits out due to injury during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Perhaps this is just a little paranoid, but Gareth Bale made comments this morning that made it seem like he's more interested in a move to the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona than he has let on in the past. While Bale stopped short of saying he wanted to leave Tottenham Hotspur now or at any time in the future his comments were a bit of a change from his previous stance on a prospective transfer.
Speaking to Spanish Daily AS Bale said, "If there is a great opportunity then that has to be considered seriously." Again, this is a bit of a change from the January window when Bale said he was happy at Spurs and saw his future there. Back in mid-March Bale signed an extension through 2015. This gave many Tottenham supporters hope that the endless Bale speculation would finally come to a rest and the player could just concentrate on football.
Of course, the extension had the additional effect of raising the price for any interested buyers for Bale. After Gareth's comments this morning Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was quick to slap an £80 million valuation on the Welsh winger. If you recall Real Madrid purchased Cristiano Ronaldo for that exact same price back in 2009. Harry feels that if the club are to build on their success they should take nothing less than a record transfer for Bale.
Let's start with Bale's comments. I never expected Gareth Bale to play the rest of his career at Tottenham Hotspur. It's not something that's done in football today. I do, however, expect a measure of loyalty from him. The club has showed patience and faith in him and I feel like that should count for something. That said, saying that one would consider the opportunity is a lot different from saying "I want out now". Heck, I would consider the opportunity if Real Madrid called me.
Also, we don't really know what the question he was asked was. It seems like he's responding to a question about whether we would be afraid to move to the continent. And if that's the case then he's absolutely correct. He shouldn't be worried about leaving home, learning a new language, and playing football. Spurs fans should back away from the panic button. These comments are nothing to worry about. Gareth Bale is still very much a Tottenham player.
The most interesting thing, to me, about this whole thing is Harry Redknapp's valuation of Bale. £80 million? Really? I am willing to concede that Gareth Bale is a very good left-sided midfielder, but he's no Cristiano Ronaldo. At the time Madrid purchased him from Manchester United Ronaldo, then 24 years old had already had: three season in which he scored 20+ goals (including one in which he scored a mind-blowing 42) and managed to avoid any serious injuries. This is the first season in which Bale, still only 21 years old, has reached double digits in goals and he's also quite injury prone. There is no way Spurs can, at this point, get anything close to £80 million for Bale.
Yes, Bale's pace and power make him a force to be reckoned with, but Premier League teams have shown that by marking him with two men you can take him out of the game. Ronaldo has seen the same tactics and yet he continues to succeed and score goals. At this point in Bale's career £80 million is an absolutely ludicrous amount for any team to pay for him. If I were Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy I'd jump at any price over £50 million.
Now, I'm certainly not advocating selling Gareth Bale, but I think at that price it would be hard for the club to pass up. There are no guarantees in football and when you have a player as injury prone as Bale is you never know what will happen. Bale could go down tomorrow and never play football again or teams could start to figure out how to effectively mark him out of games and his value could decrease.
If Spurs were to sell Bale for £50 million they could easily purchase the striker they so desperately need and have money left to shore up other areas of the team. That and suddenly there's a place in the squad for Niko Kranjcar or Maybe Harry starts to play a narrow diamond with Sandro, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric, and Rafael Van der Vaart in midfield.
So, Tottenham fans, relax. Gareth Bale is still a Spurs player, but if this summer someone comes anywhere close to Harry Redknapp's ridiculous valuation don't be surprised if Daniel Levy accepts the offer.