Tottenham: Why Buying Stevan Jovetic and Joao Moutinho Can Replace Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale might be playing so well that he runs his way out of White Hart Lane.
Ever since the Welshman's meteoric rise began this season, rumors have abounded that the biggest clubs in the world, especially Real Madrid, are willing to pay towering sums of money to acquire him.
Few doubt that Bale is enjoying the adulation he currently receives from the Tottenham faithful, but it is difficult to reject £10 million per year and a place in Madrid's starting XI when at the top of one's game.
As an Arsenal fan, I sympathize with Spurs fans' desire to keep their best player, but the modern football landscape is cruel. As pay packages become ever more inflated, it becomes more difficult for a truly exceptional player to say no to all those around him and reject what could be a lucrative, once in a lifetime opportunity.
Therefore, the question is not if Gareth Bale will leave Tottenham, but when.
And Spurs would be wise to prepare for his departure.
The silver lining for the club and its fans is that management has not been reluctant to splash the cash on excellent players recently. And Tottenham will have a whole lot of money to spend when Bale is gone.
If the story I linked to above is correct, Spurs will be £60 million richer. That pile of cash can be spent on any number of new players (or enticing current ones to stay) but two, in particular, would go a long way toward making up for Bale's sale.
While no one can truly replace a player as dynamic and multi-talented as Gareth Bale, Stevan Jovetic and Joao Moutinho would go a long way toward doing so.
Now, I admit that I came up with the idea of Jovetic moving to White Hart Lane on my own. In fact, the 23-year-old Montenegrin is more often linked with a move to the other side of North London, with Arsenal.
Jovetic is not a winger like Bale, but he is a goalscorer and a dynamic, versatile creator. One of the most electric players in Serie A this season, he can play as either an attacking midfielder, second striker or winger, and is absolutely lethal with the ball at his feet.
With 12 goals, he is by far the top goalscorer on a Fiorentina team that is five points off second place and, to almost everyone who watches La Viola, is his team's most valuable player.
Predictably, he would not come cheap. And while that will probably put off frugal Arsenal, it should be no issue for Spurs.
The Moutinho rumor is nothing new. In fact, Tottenham were within an inch of securing his signature on August 31 of last summer, but a £22 million deal fell through at the last second.
There should be no impediment to a move this time.
Now Spurs have every resource they need to finally pry Moutinho away from Porto once and for all. Their squad will be much better once they have done so.
Like Jovetic, he is a chance creator, but one of a very different type. The diminutive Portuguese sits deep and dictates the flow of play from his position at the heart of midfield, picking and choosing the perfect passes and the right moments to burst forward.
Moutinho is not, by any stretch, a like-for-like replacement for Bale—they don't even play the same position.
But using the river of cash that promises to flow from Bale's sale to reinforce an already strong area of the team with a world-class midfielder is not a particularly bad way to spend £22 million.
With a powerful midfield that can control the tempo of a game and create chances for forwards, like Jovetic, who are more than able to finish them, Tottenham would be well prepared for life without the irreplaceable Gareth Bale.
He might not be forgotten and probably will be missed to some degree, but these two signings would go a long way toward closing the wound.
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