Monday, May 20, 2013

Gareth Bale Staying With Tottenham But Could He Be Successful Elsewhere?

After much speculation all season long and especially this weekend, it appears that Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale is staying put. Latest reports suggest that he has agreed terms to be paid £130,000 per week and has a get out clause next season should a team put in an offer of £50 million or more. Based on recent speculation it seems very possible that one of the bigger European clubs would tender an offer of that size. It seems like blasphemy to suggest that Gareth Bale is over-rated, but there are genuine reasons to question whether the 23-year old could be truly successful playing for the world's bigger clubs.

During the 2010/11 season Bale burst onto the scene earning superstar status. He exploited Maicon - generally regarded to be one of the world's best right backs - time and time again scoring a hat-trick at the San Siro.

Since that day Bale has been considered a de facto superstar and has often been attributed as the single force behind Tottenham's consistent stay among the better teams in the English Premier League.

However, the statistics - at least until the 2012/13 season - don't reflect that story line. Even in 2010/11, the season where Bale appeared to arrive as a world class talent in October. He ranked just 77th on the list of goal-scorers in the EPL.

In 2011/12 Bale did step up his game finishing sixth in the league in terms of assists (playing with Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe who were on fire). However, he was once again extremely erratic and inconsistent scoring nine goals, but frequently going six, seven and even eight games without a goal.

This season's dominating 21-goal EPL season form has been something to admire. Add to that the fact that Bale was on fire for a spell of 10-12 games after Boxing Day. He undoubtedly has fantastic game-breaking ability and he has been crucial to Tottenham's Champions League challenge, though ultimately Spurs fell short.

Consistency has been a problem for Bale and that should be recognised. He has benefited from being the centrepiece of Andre Villas-Boas' attack. If he produces another superb season in 2013/14 then maybe his few remaining critics will be silenced.

However, Bale is being linked with some of Europe's biggest and best clubs. Real Madrid and Manchester Utd were the favorites to gain his services this summer and if he is likely to be available then expect those two teams to be in the running again along with Manchester City, Barcelona, Chelsea and perhaps even Bayern Munich.

Is Bale really ready for that step up? Can he be a big fish in a big pond? Or is he better off being a big fish in a medium-sized pond? The best thing that Bale has going for him right now is his youth. At just 23 he is still developing. Perhaps at least one more season with a promising and developing Spurs' squad wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

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