By managing to sell Luka Modric and keep Gareth Bale for this season, Tottenham did the smart thing as their climb up the ladder of European football, not to mention the Premier League. The ability to hang on to Bale this season while returning to the Champions League will be the proof we need to see just how ambitious, and strong, this club really is.
There’s no doubt that Bale is the hottest player in the Premier League right now. Someone who seems to be making another stride towards world class each and every season is now hitting the finest stretch of his career so far, making it 15 goals in 24 league matches this season, and an even more incredible stretch of 8 goals in Spurs’ last six matches, including an 89th minute winner against West Ham, a 90th minute winner against Lyon, late winners against Newcastle and West Brom and a late equalizer against Norwich.
Bale doesn’t just participate in the scoring – he pretty much is the scoring for Tottenham in February, and every goal he scores is either for the lead of making things level. Nothing but important goals from him. Another impressive thing is being less and less of an athletic freak and becoming a complete player.
Bale sometimes plays as the most forward of options for Andre Villas-Boas, who comes up with new descriptions for Bale’s awesomeness each and every week. On another level is what he used last time I think. Bale’s drive into the box, ability to free himself with lateral movement instead of just bursting through the wing and his overall offensive awareness is growing with every match.
And here comes the real test – assuming that Bale is one of the best players in the world today, can Tottenham hold on to him? He’ll bring in more money than Modric, but Tottenham weren’t that keen on selling Modric – it was he who wanted out, and they made the most of it, replacing him with players who bring the same to the table. While Real Madrid got semi-burned once in a deal with Spurs, it doesn’t mean they don’t want Bale, regardless of how his positions is the same one Cristiano Ronaldo likes to play in (a hint on Ronnie’s future?).
Tottenham can’t miss the Champions League again – they can’t lose a crucial derby to Arsenal again. Bale hasn’t been demanding exits to bigger sides so far, but a failure to return and position Tottenham as a club that’s thinking big – about big trophies and championships, will drive Bale away, regardless of the money they can make off of him. A great player deserves to play for a great club. Now it’s up for Spurs to show they are one.