Spurs Are A One Man Team. So What?By: Robert Reed | February 16th, 2013
I think it was Terry Venables who, when reflecting upon the troublesome yet gifted Paul Gascoigne’s big money move from Spurs to Lazio, commented that it was, ‘..like watching your Mother-In-Law drive off a cliff in your new car’.
I can relate to that sentiment now. With every game in which Gareth Bale shows his remarkable ability and improvement this year under AVB, my feelings are a bittersweet mixture of euphoria and dread.
When the subject of Bale’s departure to pastures foreign would arise before now I was able to console myself with the thought that it was perhaps unlikely as, although he was very good, he wasn’t that good. When I say ‘that good’ I mean good enough for a team such as Real Madrid to go through the long and laborious process of negotiating with probably the most hard nosed chairman in world football and eventually getting their pants pulled down over the price (£30m for Modric?).
Last season I considered Bale to be worth in the region of £40m if moving abroad; I certainly couldn’t see anyone paying a penny more than that. There is a tendency to exaggerate if not the talent and potential then the actual market value when considering one’s own player. I was confident that Levy would hold out for something in the region of £50m resulting in the player going nowhere.
Now though, grim reality is setting in. Bale is this season starting to look like very much the real deal. He is finding a consistency and eye for goal which is putting him in the bracket of player where a team like Real Madrid would make him their marquee signing for the summer. A statement of intent, a Galactico; a player they would pay top dollar for and go all out to secure.
We are not talking Ronaldo money here; £80m is not realistic in the current climate, but somewhere around the £60m mark could be if Bale carries on playing as he has been.
On that subject, what about this kid’s form at the moment? He has scored all of our goals, six of them, in our last four games.
Calling us a one man team is, at this precise moment, fair comment. We were all quick to accuse Arsenal of being a one man team last season when Van Persie seemed the only thing keeping them in sight of Champions League qualification, and we were right to do so. It is of course a figure of speech regarding the disproportionate level of influence from one player rather than a statement of literal fact, and it could be said of us now with Bale in regard to securing wins.
We have a good squad, but clearly require goal scorers and our best centre back, central midfielder and striker are all unavailable to us. We have performed well without Bale at times this season but if he were injured at this moment in time I think it could prove disastrous. I refuse to believe that if he had not been on the field in our recent games that someone else like Adebayor or Dempsey would have secured the results for us instead.
The overriding fact though is that it is irrelevant. Spurs have this fantastic talent who is playing very well, so therefore the team is playing well because what is a team if not the sum of it’s players? It’s not like Bale is on loan, he is a long term Tottenham investment which has come to fruition under our influence and is now paying dividends. The club’s success is largely at the moment down to Bale’s influence, and Bale’s influence being available to us is down to this club’s foresight and investment in the development of the player.
Arsenal could have said the same thing of Van Persie; Manchester United could have said it of Ronaldo. These players were the overriding reasons for their team’s level of success, but the mere fact they were there and at that level was down to the club’s own effectiveness and know-how as an organisation. Being a ‘one man team’ in that sense is more of an achievement than having a team full of ready made superstars whose presence was secured with all the effort of a money transfer.
Bale is a player who is a credit to our club and an endorsement of our methods; it is no slight against us that without he, and likewise the present manager we would be a serious doubt for the top four this season.
To digress for a moment; on that subject, when news that Mourinho could leave Real was announced, did anyone else surprise themselves by not having the usual deluded daydream about his deciding to manage Tottenham? It crossed my mind for a moment, before I decided I was actually rather happy with who we have.
AVB has apparently had a long talk with Bale about his future, and I’m guessing he talks a good game. Having a top manager will be an incentive for Gareth to stay at the club but one thing is for sure; even if we qualify for the Champions League this season we will have a hell of a job hanging on to him if we do not demonstrate that we have ambition to match his own. Another summer of bargain basement deals and he will be on his way.
I have every belief that we are at a stage where, if Champions League qualification is secured, we can afford to spend in the region of £25-£30m on a striker. That is not a staggering amount for a quality forward and does not necessarily equal £120k a week wages. A lot of our dead wood is moving on anyway, and getting rid of high earners like Bentley will trim the wage bill.
Quality signings are crucial this summer, and can pay for themselves with the success they bring; not only as a result of having them at the club, but as a result of keeping young Gareth with us as long as possible.
Promising Bale he can achieve at Spurs is one thing, but we need to make the reasonable investments needed to prove that. Talk is cheap after all.
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