Missing out on Champions League football for a second successive year, Tottenham Hotspur find themselves at something of a crossroads
Their star player is being courted by the biggest clubs in the world, and they now have to decide whether to indulge Gareth Bale with a hefty new contract to help ward off potential suitors, or cash in and use the estimated £65 million to revitalise their squad.
That is the decision manager Andre Villas-Boas and Chairman Daniel Levy have to make. Does Bale himself give Spurs the better chance of Champions League football, or does the revenue Bale could generate enable Spurs to spread the cost of three, four or five players to enhance their squad to cope with the demands which they have failed with over the past two years.
Spurs run a notoriously tight ship, and by paying Bale nigh on £200k a week, whilst being linked with targets such as Hulk, Gonzalo Higuain, David Villa, Leandro Damiao (again) and Roberto Soldado, something has to give.
Hulk has been linked, but quickly dismissed as his wages would blow the structure. Is Bale’s situation that much different?
As targets go though, Spurs are being linked with quality players who really could push them into that fourth spot, or maybe higher and sacrificing Bale may be the only way that the squad can be strengthened significantly.
Most will agree that on paper, Spurs have the makings of a very competitive squad, but they have been let down by not having enough fire power up front and enough strength in depth.
Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor have not scored enough goals so they have needed Bale to pick up the slack. More from the forwards and Champions League football would have been assured.
Villas Boas is all too aware of this. He knows the sort of player that will enhance the squad he already has, and he also knows that they won’t come cheap. He is not a man to get numbers in for numbers sake and he sees improving this squad a continual work in progress.
That work in progress has to come with Champions League football. Spurs are now ready for it, but the competition for those four places will be no less next year, and it may take even more than their record points haul of this year to achieve it.
With Bale, and with even the most likely players linked in Leandro and Soldado, Spurs will have a great chance. If Bale stays, those are the type of players that needs to come to the Lane.
If Bale wanted to leave and go to Real Madrid, and who could blame him if he did, there would need to be an influx of quality players who between them would ensure that Bale’s contribution would not be missed.
The money which a Bale sale could bring into to Tottenham could buy Higuain, Villa, Leandro and Soldado, and then some which is why Villas Boas and Levy have such a dilemma to address.
In the end, it will be down to the player, but £65 million will be too much for the Spurs hierarchy to turn down, as one man is not a team. Expect to see Bale wearing all white next season, but playing his trade in the Spanish capital, rather then the English one.
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