Most of you will recall Tottenham splashing the £85 million (and more) that they received for Gareth Bale from Real Madrid in September 2013.
Here are the 7 players Spurs signed following Gareth Bale’s sale: Where are they now?
7. Paulinho – Guangzhou Evergrande
The first player signed by Tottenham and their manager Andre Villa Boas in the summer of 2013 was Brazilian midfielder Paulinho. Already a regular in the national team having impressed at Corinthians, Paulinho looked to be a powerful and dynamic box-to-box midfielder capable of hitting double figures in the scoring charts. Spurs paid £17 million for the 24-year-old, but unusually for a Brazilian midfielder, his technique often seemed to be found wanting during his time at White Hart Lane. Paulinho was sold to Guangzhou Evergrande for around £10 million after two years in North London, where he impressed enough to earn a £35 million+ move to Barcelona. Paulinho looked good for Barca last season, but he somewhat oddly returned to Guangzhou Evergrande on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent this summer.
6. Nacer Chadli – Monaco
Perhaps more of a direct replacement for Gareth Bale as an athletic wide man with a track record of scoring goals, Nacer Chadli joined Tottenham from FC Twente for £7 million. The 6’2” wide man was a regular during his three seasons at the Lane, before being sold for almost double what Spurs paid for him in what was a club record signing for West Bromwich Albion. After making a bright start to life at the Hawthorns, Chadli had a pretty miserable second season, making only five appearances as the club were relegated to the Championship. Chadli left the Baggies over the summer, joining Monaco for just under £11 million.
5. Roberto Soldado – Fenerbahce
One of the worst signings Tottenham have ever made in terms of getting bang for their buck, Roberto Soldado cost the club a whopping £26 million. There was good reason for that, since the Spanish international had averaged better than a goal every other game at Valencia. He averaged about a goal every five games at Spurs, however, sticking around for two seasons before the club took a £16 million hit on him when he was sold to Villareal. Now aged 33, the former Real Madrid man has been with Fenerbahce in Turkey since 2017.
4. Etienne Capoue – Watford
A central or holding midfielder able to combine real strength and athleticism with good technique, Etienne Capoue looked like a smart addition from Toulouse for under £10 million by Tottenham. He featured only sporadically in his two seasons at the Lane though, never establishing himself in the club’s starting XI. Capoue left for Watford in a move worth a little over £6 million in 2015, and a barnstorming start to the 2016-17 season threatened to be the top level breakout of an obviously talented individual. Capoue remains at Watford, but we still don’t think we’ve seen the best of him often enough, and I was a little surprised to see that he is already in his 30’s.
3. Vlad Chiriches – Napoli
When Tottenham signed Vlad Chiriches for £8.5 million from Steaua Bucharest, it was hoped that the 23-year-old centre-back would bring a touch of pace, technique and composure to the Spurs defence. He did no such thing. Positionally poor and often caught dawdling on the ball, Chiriches looked clumsy and laborious. Quite possibly the worst of all of AVB’s signings at White Hart Lane, Chiriches departed for Serie A high-flyers Napoli after two seasons in North London. To his credit, Chiriches has improved in Naples, although he is very much a backup option.
2. Christian Eriksen – Tottenham
By far and away the best signing in this seven, the recruitment of Christian Eriksen from Ajax for £11.5 million was an inspired piece of business by Spurs. Highly rated from a young age, Eriksen was clearly a talent, but there were just one or two doubts about how he would cope with the physicality of the Premier League. Six seasons on and it’s safe to say he’s done alright. One of the finest playmakers in world football, Eriksen is a fantastic passer of the ball who also puts a shift in and tends to hit double figures every season.
If Tottenham were to sell the Danish playmaker, they’d probably want the same price that they sold Bale to Real Madrid for five years ago.
1. Erik Lamela – Tottenham
Tottenham broke their own record fee three times in one window with the arrival of Paulinho, Soldado and finally Erik Lamela. Lamela, the last and most expensive of the seven arrivals that summer, cost the club £30 million from Roma. Really highly thought of in Italy following an excellent season in the capital, Lamela was probably the closest Tottenham signing to Bale himself. An excellent dribbler of the ball with a real abundance of skill and flair, Lamela loved to run at opposition defences.
After a slow start to life in the Premier League, however, Lamela seemed utterly devoid of confidence, and that was clear to see in a young attacking player. Throw in a couple of devastating injuries, one to his back and one to his hip, and it’s little wonder the 26-year-old has struggled at Spurs. He made 29 appearances last season though, and as something of a forgotten man and no longer seen as Tottenham’s big money signing with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he could still have a future under Mauricio Pochettino.