Gareth Bale: Spurs Star's Busy Summer Has Set the Scene for a Big Season

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2013

Gareth Bale has not only become one of the biggest names in the Premier League but also in world football.
Gareth Bale has not only become one of the biggest names in the Premier League but also in world football.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Gareth Bale's emergence as one of world football's biggest stars has continued apace throughout this summer.

This week, it was announced that the Tottenham Hotspur player will join Lionel Messi on the cover of EA Sports' FIFA 13 video game (albeit, only for select regions).

Earlier in July, the Welshman's image was fixed above Times Square in New York City as part of NBC's promotional campaign for their upcoming coverage of the Premier League.

English audiences, too, have been inundated with a whole lot of Bale recently.

Be it his part in BT Sport's launching of their own Premier League coverage, for which Bale is one of several high-profile "ambassadors."  Or the ongoing speculation linking him with a transfer away from North London—a recent example being a Daily Mail article talking up interest from Manchester United.

Indications are that, for this summer at least, Bale is to remain at Tottenham. His part in these promotions and the launch of the club's new kits would at least suggest he is not planning to leave anytime soon.

This busy offseason has helped to set the scene for what could be a huge year for the 24-year-old.

Spurs are preparing for yet another crack at the top four, and possibly will be aiming for even more.

After a 2012-13 season that saw him scoop a host of individual awards, Bale will once again be a central part of the plans of his manager, Andre Villas-Boas.

Brilliant performances from the attacker were not a new phenomenon—he has been dazzling on and off since cementing himself in the Spurs team during the climax to 2009-10.

It was the consistency last season of those eye-catching, often match-winning displays that has raised the level of expectation surrounding Bale.

Tottenham fans will continue to have his back—something they proved with their unwavering support during diving controversies of the last couple of years—but the pressure from outside of White Hart Lane will undoubtedly have grown.

How Bale responds to this pressure is almost certain to be one of the most engrossing Spurs-related storylines of the season.

The North Londoners' preseason preparations kick off in earnest this Tuesday evening with a friendly at Swindon Town, before a trip to Colchester United on Friday.

After that, Villas-Boas' side head to Hong Kong for the Barclays Asia Trophy, where they face Sunderland and then either Manchester City or South China.

How big a part Bale plays in these fixtures remains to be seen.

In the meantime, check out the video below which comprehensively looks back on some of the finest moments of the Spurs' No. 11's career so far.

These include several of his goals, as well as numerous examples of the skill, tricks and breathtaking ability that have seen Bale fashion himself into one of the most exciting talents in football.