Given his remarkable season for Tottenham Hotspur, there was always going to be speculation linking Gareth Bale with a move to one of Europe’s top clubs this summer, but he should stay put for at least another year.
Here are the reasons why.
First choice and the perfect platform
After his stellar season, Bale might expect to be first choice anywhere he goes, but Luka Modric might have felt the same when he left for Real Madrid last year. Although Bale is clearly a phenomenal player, he is playing in a team set up to maximise his extravagant gifts, something that is unlikely to be the case at the very top sides, especially Real Madrid, where Cristiano Ronaldo is rightly top dog.
Development under Andre Villas-Boas
It’s hard to judge how much of Bale’s improvement is down to coaching over the past few seasons, but the Welshman has clearly struck up a fine working relationship with Villas-Boas this season, and he might consider that another year under the Portuguese manager could see him improve even further. This could be aided if Spurs shift to a 4-3-3 system, where Bale will be given even more freedom in attack.
Tottenham Hotspur’s ambition
This summer Spurs know they have to make waves in the transfer market, both to keep pace with their rivals and to demonstrate to their battalion of young stars, including Bale and Villas-Boas, that they are a team capable of challenging the best sides in England. Bale might consider giving his club the summer to show they are a team where he can achieve real success next season, as if they bring in the right players, Spurs will have one of the best squads in England.
The managerial merry-go-round has reached ludicrous proportions this year, with top sides all over Europe dispensing with their coaches, whatever success they have achieved. This could also see plenty of big transfers, as managers look to make their mark on their new sides, but there will little certainty about how those teams will start next season, and Bale could consider waiting a year to see how the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich settle down under their freshly appointed bosses.
Time on his side
All these reasons might be immaterial if Bale was in his late twenties and desperate for a chance of winning the biggest trophies whilst at his peak, but the Welshman is only 23, and has plenty of time to shape his future. One more year developing at a big side set up to get the very best out of him would be an excellent choice, and he could still leave next year even more established as among the very finest players in the world.
image: © Jan S0L0