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Why Tottenham Can Survive Without Gareth Bale Next Season

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 04:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg between Tottenham Hotspur FC and FC Basel 1893 at White Hart Lane on April 4, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 8, 2013

The media furore surrounding Gareth Bale reaches new heights week on week, and with every goal or injury scare his value skyrockets even further.

Having such a wonderfully gifted player on your books is fantastic, but when you're a team in transition you're just desperate to keep the vultures away.

And those vultures—in the form of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City (via The Daily Mail)—are circling ever closer, hoping upon hope that Spurs fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

It's a subject that dominates pub talk all over London: will Spurs be OK if they lose Gareth Bale?

I've spoken about it before, discussing the matter deeply with B/R's Will Tidey and Richie Morgan on NASN Radio's "The Prem," but the topic remains just as relevant now as it did in February.

It's also a matter that cropped up this weekend, as Spurs took on Everton without Bale and Aaron Lennon, drawing 2-2 thanks to a late Gylfi Sigurdsson tap-in.

Spurs dominated possession, but failed to slice the Toffees open with any regularity—Clint Dempsey had a poor game in the No. 10 role and often wasted chances after growing frustrated.

Bale's presence was sorely missed, as too was Lennon's.

But that game cannot be taken as a sample of why Bale leaving would mean the end of Spurs, nor can you draw any wild conclusions from it.

How much will Bale cost? £50 million? £60 million?

It's not good to lose the Welshman—it would arguably be even more crippling than Arsenal losing Cesc Fabregas or Aston Villa losing Christian Benteke—but you can't deny the proceeds are a lot to play with.

What's to say you can't buy another Bale, or perhaps two Bales, with £50-60 million?

There are multiple combinations of players that could be bought that would satisfy the fans. Erik Lamela, Christian Atsu, Viktor Fischer, Stevan Jovetic and Henrikh Mkhitayran are all verging on, or established, world-class players prime for plucking.

But it's not just about replacing one star with another and having another lash at it, and that's where Tottenham hold a decent position going forward.

Andre Villas-Boas was rigid, strict and unforgiving as Chelsea manager—that attitude and approach was wrong and it duly got him fired. After a few months to collect his thoughts, his entire philosophy has changed.

He's now adaptable, willing to change and shape new ideas. He's converted his formation this season and moves Bale around depending on the opposition.

This tactical flexibility is what gives Spurs the high ground going into the summer. Too often we've seen teams lose their prized player and struggle along in the same system without him.

Managers grumble about their projects being torn down, but they're not active enough in changing them to adapt.

That won't happen at White Hart Lane. The walls will not crumble if Bale leaves and that's for two sole reasons: the income can be used to replace him, and AVB's ability to utilise that replacement superbly.

 

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