Tottenham Hotspur

Predicting Tottenham Hotspur's Chances of Making the Top 4

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:   Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey of Tottenham share a joke during the end of season parade during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane on May 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Christopher ImpigliaFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2013

Tottenham Hotspur have recently found themselves on the brink of fourth place, thanks to players like Gareth Bale. The Welshman has given Spurs hope in the Premier League and in Europe, but now his departure to Real Madrid looks imminent. Without Bale next season, what are Spurs’ chances of making the top four in the Premier League?

Well, even with the club stating that Bale will be allowed to leave for over £80 million, as The Independent reports, Tottenham’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League seem quite strong.

Real Madrid has responded to Spurs’ demands with the record-breaking bid of over £85 million, as Sky Sports reports.

Not a bad payoff for someone originally purchased for £9 million who was at one point labeled a flop, as International Business Times reports.

Even if it would be true to state that Bale almost single-handedly won for Spurs last season, and that anyone with his qualities would missed, his departure could very well be a blessing in a not-so-good disguise.

I’ll have to disagree with ex-Spurs defender Stuart Nethercott. In quotes given to the Daily Star, he said, “If Gareth Bale stays, Tottenham will definitely be in the top four, but this is the year that Spurs could be amongst the favorites to win the Premier League.”

I just can’t see Bale being able to replicate his past season’s success, something Nethercott seems to take for granted. 

As the Daily Mail reports, “Bale knows it’s time to join Madrid…the brutal fact is that Tottenham have not kept pace with his stunning transformation.”

Being forced to stay has only angered the full-back turned striker, as Sky Sports reports.

Already under the pressure of his team to deliver and now being dubbed the third best player in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (as per the Daily Mail), an angry Bale staying put may hurt his team rather than help.

In the end, to be liberated of an individual will finally allow manager Andre Villas-Boas to concentrate on the growth of his team.

And, in terms of team growth, the Bale deal could see Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria come to White Hart Lane, as ESPNFC reports.

The Real duo, especially Di Maria, will add more depth and quality to a Spurs side already packed with a solid combination of talent, flair and grit thanks to players like Jan Vertonghen, Sandro and Moussa Dembele. 

And of course we can’t forget the signing of Paulinho, who will no doubt shine as one of the top midfielders in the EPL.

Now, setting aside Chelsea and Manchester United, who both look likely to challenge for the EPL title, let’s take a look at last year’s  fourth and second-place finishers respectively.

Arsenal

Spurs’ traditional North London rivals seem to have fallen behind in the transfer market.

Gonzalo Higuain has signed for Napoli, Bernardo looks likely to sign for Porto (as per ESPNFC) and Luis Suarez will cost a whopping £50 million, as the Mirror reports.

For a team that already struggled to make the top four last season, this is not ideal, even if Arsene Wenger insists, as quoted by the Mirror, “With or without additions we can be title challengers next season.”

Even if Arsene manages to sign Suarez in the end, the volatile, biting character may not be enough to give Arsenal the edge over Spurs in this upcoming season, regardless of the outcome of Bale.

Manchester City

City have gambled by bringing in Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, Pellegrini will be under enormous pressure, perhaps more than his rivals, to succeed. He’ll likely not be met with patience, either.

As former Leeds manager Neil Warnock said in quotes given to the Mirror, “The only way Pellegrini can succeed is by winning the Champions League and the Premier League.”

This seems like a lot to ask for from someone who has never won a major title.

But besides this, City have fared better in the transfer window than Arsenal, despite the injury to Matija Nastasic, the offloading of Carlos Tevez and with Edin Dzeko increasingly linked away from the club, as The Independent reports.

Stevan Jovetic has added potency to City’s attack while Fernandinho looks likely to deliver after his performances at Shakhtar, earning him a place in Goal.com’s 50 best players.

But, the Pellegrini factor might prove decisive for reasons I’ve mentioned. I’d have to give the edge to AVB, whose already experienced life in the EPL and has reemerged as one of the top managers in Europe.

It will certainly be a tight race at the top of the Premier League with Manchester United, Chelsea, City and Arsenal attempting to once again solidify themselves as the top four.

It seems likely, however, that with the conclusion of the Bale Saga, Spurs will emerge stronger than before, and might very well claim Champions League football at the expense of one of their rivals.

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