Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bale - Will he stay or will he go?

This morning both The Sun and The Mail are reporting that Gareth Bale has expressed his desire to stay at the club. A Spurs insider told The Sun: 'Gareth wants to stay for next season. To say he is happy at the club right now is a bit of an understatement.'

The news may please many Spurs fans, but I'm not totally convinced that we're finished with this saga. For a start the articles don't include any quotes directly from Bale, and an unnamed source always takes my mind back to rumours of the arrivals of Rivaldo, Kaka, Cannavaro etc... unfounded journalistic guesswork that we've been subjected to over the years. Secondly it's a quote from The Sun so it can hardly be treated as gospel.

So will Bale stay or go? Let's look at the argument for staying. Over the last two years Bale has come on leaps and bounds under our setup, establishing himself as one of the first names on the team sheet and part of the credit must surely go to the training methods that have allowed him to improve his game. Whilst at Spurs, barring an incredulous drop in from, Bale will always be guaranteed to start games. His style of play is complimented by the way we play, where he receives the ball regularly and is given creative license. Is there any guarantee that the likes of Barca and Man City could guarantee him time on the ball or even week in, week out appearances?

Maturity has always been evident in Bale from interview's and a lack of personal life media coverage shows that he's more interested in getting on with his career than picking up headlines. Therefore he may view at least another season at Spurs as key to his future development, with money unlikely to be the most important factor. His left sided partnership with Assou-Ekotto proved to be the most effective in the Premier League for the first half of the season bringing the best out of both, something that he may struggle to replicate at another club.

However there is no doubt that right now he is one of the best left wingers in the world and a player of his quality should be playing in the Champions League, something that Gareth has outlined a desire to do in the press recently. Having narrowly missed out this year under unfortunate circumstances we cannot sadly offer this as a selling point, but hopefully the potential for next year will prove enough.

Whilst Modric has always received backing from the club, Bale went through a period of hell at Spurs. Isolated from the first team after poor form and injuries, there were rumours of Nottingham Forest taking him back to the Championship. In hindsight it's ridiculous to think this was even being considered, but such was the lack of support for Bale at the time it seemed the most reasonable conclusion. You could understand there being a bitterness in Gareth at his treatment but he put his head down and through hard work forced his way back in. Bale owes us nothing, if anything we owe him in this case for ever doubting his abilities.

There's no certainty as to where Gareth's future lies but when you also add into the mix the 3 years left on his contract and Levy's reluctance to sell both Modric and Bale, if either is going to go it looks unlikely to be Bale. What's certain is that if we start September without the Welshman we'll have a task on our hands to match, or better, last seasons efforts.

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