Tottenham: Will Spurs Really Be Able to Turn Away Gareth Bale Transfer Offers?
While Tottenham are in the midst of a mighty struggle to crack the Premier League's top four and solidify Champions League football for next season, the club's greatest challenge may yet lie ahead of them as they look to hold on to superstar Gareth Bale for next season.
Bale has been on a tear through the past few months, scoring seven goals in five league matches as he carried Spurs through a 12-match unbeaten run.
The Welshman's sparkling form has drawn the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world, as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have all expressed interest in the winger (via the Express).
It's a story one has seen so many times over the past few years: rich clubs with all the assets tempting away the best players from the more frugal clubs on the next tier. After all, just look at Arsenal's recent sales of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie, just to name a few.
So can Tottenham buck this trend and keep their superstar at White Hart Lane through next season?
The conventional wisdom would probably say no.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has proved over the past few years that he is a shrewd operator. Through his sales of Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric, Levy has proved that he is not afraid to sell his club's best players if he gets an offer for more money than he thinks the player is worth.
While Bale, who is just 23 years old and just blossoming into one of the top players in the world, is undoubtedly worth a massive sum of money, there must be some amount that Levy would have to think about accepting. With Madrid already thinking along the lines of a £60 million transfer fee for the winger and the Spurs chairman's negotiating skill, it is quite likely that number will be reached.
Is there any price at which you'd be ok with Bale leaving?
Is that necessarily a bad thing for Tottenham?
Well, no one wants to see Gareth leave White Hart Lane, and in an ideal world, the club would keep him and have the money to build around him.
However, with a huge sum of money at their disposal, Tottenham would have the ability to buy three or four suitable replacements for the Welshman and add some much-needed depth around the pitch. In fact, with the chairman's ability to find a bargain, Spurs could end up with 40 or so players of the likes of Lewis Holtby, who came to the club in January for a paltry £1.5 million.
In the end, while Spurs' side might look a bit less intimidating without Bale running at defenders, it might actually afford them the opportunity to improve.
On the other hand, the deal-breaker might just be the views of the player himself.
Bale is just coming into his own in the Premier League, helping a young Spurs squad start to make a name for themselves throughout Europe.
The Welshman may see it as an unwise decision to switch leagues at this point in his career, especially when he sees the way his former teammate, Luka Modric, has gotten on since moving to Madrid last summer.
If Tottenham have the Champions League stage to offer next season, why should Bale risk his development for a chance to be a member of a club that wins the trophy?
Still, the "if" clause of that sentence is vital, as Spurs must finish in the top four for that scenario to even be in the discussion.
Without Champions League football to offer, there is no begrudging Bale looking for the exit. In fact, a finish outside of the top four would kill a lot of the negotiating leverage that Tottenham currently hold.
Clearly, there are a lot of ways in which this transfer saga can play out.
This summer window should be one of the most interesting in Tottenham's recent history and could well shape the future at White Hart Lane.
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