EXCLUSIVE: Bale Is A Cherry!By: Robert Reed | August 4th, 2013
Not literally of course, I am not saying that Gareth Bale is an actual cherry; that would be insane. What I am saying is that he is a glacé cherry. Yeah? Now you’re getting it.
Bale’s cherry credentials struck me this morning when I was contemplating what life would be like if he made the move to Madrid (something I am still not 100% sold on). We would lose a fantastic player who can win games on his own; a player who can pick the ball up in his own half, completely skin the opposition and score a goal from nothing on his own; a player who pushed Spurs from probably 7th place to 5th last season on his own.
Now, this isn’t just a very poor writing style at work here (not just that), I am actually making a point. Everything good I could think of which Gareth Bale offers the team is what he does on his own. He does not in any way make our team ‘tick’.
Bale is not known for his little flicks, his cheeky back heels, his incisive through balls, his link play, his awareness or even for having a particularly great long pass (he’s no Hoddle). He is known for being a racehorse who leaves players for dead and possessing a left foot almost as good as Beckham’s right. Bale is becoming such a superstar because he is so so good at the eye catching, individual part of the game which gets people on their feet. He can turn a very good, effective team into a title winning side. Or, as in our case, he can help a disjointed team finish a couple of places higher. He has very little effect on how the team plays, other than ensuring everyone passes to the same man. Last season that made us predictable, but the lad’s talent was such that even though the opposition knew what was going to happen there wasn’t an awful lot they could do about it. How many managers, like Sam Allardyce for example, stated before the game that the objective was to stop Bale. He was right, and he employed the right tactics, but Bale was just too good.
Ask Spurs fans and the majority would say that our lack of a decent striker last season cost us dearly. There was nobody there to put away those countless chances we kept creating and turn the great build up play we displayed into goals and points.
OK, did that sound right to you? Because you may well be thinking, ‘what chances’?
Roberto Soldado has been signed to much acclaim and most Spurs fans, myself included I must admit, have been proclaiming that our attacking problems are solved, but why exactly? Soldado is an excellent goal mouth poacher and a very good player, but if we had signed him in January would he have made that much of a difference? What exactly would this arch poacher have been getting on the end of?
I would like to make a suggestion, which you can by all means shoot down. If Gareth Bale had left last summer, and Luka Modric had stayed, Spurs would have qualified for the Champions League.
Granted, we scored three more points this season than the one previously, we also scored the same amount of goals, but I put that down to the new manager being a step up in class from the one previously. The side, I believe, was a step down in class.
The flowing, liquid football we played under Redknapp was gone.
Modric made us tick. There were chances galore for the forwards and we were unpredictable in attack. While we also lost Rafa at that time, I think his departure was somewhat inconsequential as AVB gave his number ten role in the team to Bale and he excelled.
If Spurs are to be a real force post Bale then I believe that this has to be addressed.
With the signing of Paulinho it looks very much like we are set to play a form of 4-3-3 next season, as I don’t see how those three players can be accommodated in a midfield four. If Bale is to stay, I’d expect Dembele, Paulinho and Sandro to form the three in midfield, with Soldado leading the line, leaving Chadli and Bale as wide attackers. This looks a very good team but again that vital component, the cog which sets the ball rolling and turns defence into attack in an instant with a timely stroke of genius, is missing.
It’s all about the squad these days, right? I think we need to sign that midfield creative force and have a little squad rotation involving the likes of Dembele and Paulinho. We need to be in a position where we are forced to have players good enough to start occasionally warming the bench. The likes of Chelsea, Man City and United do so all the time.
It worries me that we do not appear to be making any moves in that direction, although I could be wrong. I certainly do not claim to be sat here making deductions that our manager in his wisdom has not made himself. That said, if Bale goes I would like to see us sign Lamela from Roma as a like for like replacement, and make a serious push to get Modric back here as part of the deal.
I know, I know. He disrespected us, he caused trouble etc. The fact is though that we need him or someone very like him. I’d happily see him wallow in his self made misery, but there is a reason I would be happy to take him back.
Some players in the past have left us, gone to live out their dreams with another club and then come back when we looked like a good option for their fading talent. Teddy did it for instance, but we were a mid table team at the time and he wanted to actually win something while he still could. Fair enough, all was forgiven.
Modric on the other hand left when we were on the verge of becoming great. He threw a spanner in the works and dealt a harsh blow to our team which, as I said, I don’t think we adequately recovered from. So, why would I take him back? Because it all blew up in his face. He engineered a move away from a club where he was idolised, making a complete fool of himself in the process, and ended up in a hostile environment where everyone thought he was a knob. He has, in my opinion, been taught a lesson and I would therefore take him back with a little condescending clip round the ear. He thought the grass was greener, and indeed it was, but only when he got there did he realise he had a grass allergy.
If we could sign those two players I think we would have the complete team. Manager, goalkeeper, defence, midfield and attack all good enough to push for the title, or at least top three on a regular basis. The key for me though is Modric, or a player of his type and quality. If we could get someone like him and keep Bale, I would fancy us for the title.
If we were making a cake, Modric would be the eggs which bind the whole thing together with the other fine ingredients allowing it to take it’s place at the top table. Bale is the cherry on top, which earns it first prize.
There, we got there in the end.
For more half baked opinions follow me on Twitter @RobertReedUK
Some Related Spurs Posts:
- The Chilling Consequences Of Bale Envy
- Spurs Aren’t Big Enough To Sell Bale
- Sigh…You Can Only Tell Him