Vincent Ralph takes a closer look at Glenn Hoddle's comments that Gareth Bale is unlikely to move abroad in the near future.
“Personally I don’t think Gareth Bale wants to leave yet, unless it was to one of the Manchester clubs.”
Those were the words of former England manager Glenn Hoddle during an interview on radio station TalkSport earlier this week. But is he right? Is the talk of an impending move to Real Madrid just that – talk?
As the Spanish club’s president readies what is said to be a world-record offer, is the Welshman apathetic to the whole thing, knowing his future – at least in the short-term – is in England?
Is it not so much the clubs that are interested in him that is important, but the country in which they are based?
Hoddle believes the birth of Bale’s first child will be a huge factor in where he plies his trade in the coming years.
And it is hard to argue with such logic when the former Tottenham player says, “When you’re 27 or 28 years old you might be ready and mature enough to settle. You have to be settled off the pitch before you get your form on it. It’s a really big decision for him.”
Hoddle should know. He left Spurs for AS Monaco following 12 years at White Hart Lane, at the age of 29.
With Bale only 23, should Hoddle’s logic apply there appear to be only two possible outcomes. Either Bale remains at White Hart Lane for the long haul, or Spurs fans will have to get used to seeing him turn out for a Premier League rival.
Sir Alex Ferguson has previously spoken of his frustration at having missed out on Bale when he was at Southampton. And it is no exaggeration to say the player is the most exciting talent the English top flight has seen since Cristiano Ronaldo.
If Hoddle is right – should any move in the next few seasons not require a stamp on Bale’s passport – he could be wearing the same shirt that Ronaldo ultimately grew into.
Although if it comes down to a bidding war – if such a thing has ever existed outside the realm of media sound-bites – Manchester City clearly have the advantage.
Bale’s is destined to be the saga of the summer.
Unless he dismisses the speculation out of hand, the headlines will continue until the transfer window slams shut just under three months from now.
But Hoddle’s comments paint an interesting aside to the numerous rumours linking the player to Madrid. It was long felt that any move would be to the Bernabeu, that only they could both afford and tempt him, that Spurs would do anything before dealing with a domestic rival.
And yet the choice rests with the player – even if an £85million offer should arrive in Daniel Levy’s inbox.
If he sees his future in England, and if Tottenham continue to fall short, Bale may soon have to decide how important trophies are when compared with the adoration of your fans.
Then again, Spurs could do the smart thing…and build a team around him.
image: © Jan S0L0