The north London club’s star man looks to be moving to the Spanish capital for a world record fee – but who will replace him at White Hart Lane?
For any team, losing your best player is a real blow and takes some replacing. Tottenham appear to be losing the battle to keep star attacker Gareth Bale at the club, with Real Madrid rumoured to be closing in on a world record transfer for the Wales international.
Before Spurs consider letting Bale leave, they must think realistically about who will fill the considerable void left by a player that won matches for the club almost single-handedly on occasion last season.
The club will have money to spend, however no Champions League football to attract the cream of the crop. Would one of these five fit the bill?
Widely regarding as one of the most prodigious young talents in European football, Eriksen has developed as far as he can at Ajax and looks set to be snapped up by one of the frontrunners from England, Italy or Spain sooner rather than later.
Although he lacks the physical abilities that Bale offers, Eriksen’s guile, range of passing and creativity would certainly give Tottenham an extra option that they do not currently have. With Roberto Soldado’s impending transfer to White Hart Lane, Eriksen in a trequartista type role, feeding passes for the Spanish forward, would give Spurs’ attack a subtlety that was missing at times last term.
Although the Brazilian only moved from Shakhtar Donetsk to Anzhi Makhachkala in January, the talented winger-cum-attacking midfielder has already publicly stated his desire to leave Russia.
“I tried to leave Shakhtar for over a year, but couldn’t do it,” he said.
“I had offers from big English clubs and from other places, but Shakhtar never accepted them. Anzhi were the only ones who agreed to pay for my release clause. I have enormous affection and respect for this club, but everybody knows that my dreams and desires haven’t changed.”
Tottenham are known admirers of Willian, and failed in efforts to sign him from Shakhtar in the past. Andre Villas-Boas also is thought to have tried to buy him for Chelsea during his brief tenure at Stamford Bridge.
Willian has flair in abundance, and has been a solid performer in the Champions League with Shakhtar. Despite this, his lack of experience in a top league would mean that he would need time to bed in – something Spurs cannot afford.
With new technical director Franco Baldini’s association with Roma, Erik Lamela is a player that has been repeatedly linked with a switch to north London in recent weeks.
The Argentine forward has played in the Italian capital for two seasons after a move from River Plate, and started to settle into his new surrounds last term. His progression and improvement was noticeable, and the South American was certainly one of the Giallorossi’s better players in 2012-13.
Lamela has an excellent eye for a killer ball, and offered up 15 goals in Serie A last term. A player with a big future, if Spurs could convince Roma to sell, Lamela could be a star in the Premier League.
A member of Brazil’s Confederations Cup winning squad, the Atletico Mineiro playmaker has outgrown domestic football and is ready for a switch to Europe. Arsenal are rumbled to be major suitors for the South American, however Shakhtar and Porto are also monitoring the situation.
The 20-year-old’s talent is obvious; whether he is ready to replace one of Europe’s best players is another.
A controversial inclusion, Suarez’s future at Liverpool appears all but over if a big-money offer is received. With Real Madrid and Arsenal thought to be in the market for the tempestuous Uruguayan, the forward is eyeing progression and a chance to play in the Champions League.
Despite the fact that Tottenham will not play in Europe’s elite competition next season, Suarez could be tempted away from Anfield by Spurs’ ambition in the transfer market and bundles of new-found wealth.
A strike partnership of Suarez and Soldado would be an intriguing one. Whether Villas-Boas would be willing to spend a large chunk of the money received from Bale’s sale and endure Suarez’s questionable character remains to be seen.
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