Let’s get one thing straight off the top: Gareth Bale is not worth the £125 million Marca has claimed Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy wants for the Welshman. Nor is he worth the £80 million the Independent says would be enough for Real Madrid to land the 24-year-old.
None of this is to say that Bale is in any way overrated. The 21 Premier League goals scored last season, as well as the 11 man of the match gongs claimed, reveal an exceptionally gifted footballer, but at the prices being bandied about he is certainly overvalued.
There is a difference. And by taking advantage of Madrid’s seeming inability to grasp that difference, Spurs should cash in on their most-prized asset, run happily to the bank with at least twice what Bale is worth and proceed to spend the windfall on a handful of top-quality players in each third of the park.
Porto defender Nicolas Otamendi would be a good place to start.
Rumoured to be Bernabeu-bound by Marca back in June, the 25-year-old is coming off a third-straight Portuguese league triumph and could be tempted by a new challenge. The Argentina international is positionally sound, plays a good first pass and would be an upgrade to most clubs’ defensive corps, nevermind Spurs’.
In the centre of the park, Levy and manager Andre Villas-Boas would do well to make an approach for Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo.
The 26-year-old starred with Brazil at the Confederations Cup in June, completing nearly 92 per cent of his passes and linking play, with an average of four long passes per match. (All statistics courtesy WhoScored.com.)
But he started only 16 Bundesliga matches last season, and with Bayern having added Thiago Alcantara to an already competitive squad it would appear his days at Allianz-Arena have come to an end. Wolfsburg are especially keen on acquiring him, according to Goal, but Spurs would surely be his preferred destination should they throw their hat in the ring.
Another midfield option, albeit a bit of a long-shot, is Ilkay Gundogan.
Last season the Borussia Dortmund midfielder was an integral part of his side’s run to the Champions League final, and as he enters the second-last year of his contract with the Bundesliga club he could suddenly be made available if he fails to secure a new agreement at Signal-Iduna-Park.
The Metro has reported Manchester United would be keen to sign the 22-year-old should they fail to land Cesc Fabregas, but flush with cash from the Bale sale Tottenham would be able to win well near any bidding war they entered.
Up front, Spurs have already been heavily linked with a move for Valencia front-man Roberto Soldado, whose £25 million release clause they reportedly triggered this week. (BBC)
The Spain international, 28, scored 24 goals in La Liga last term and has never failed to net at least 25 times in all competitions since arriving at Los Che from Getafe in 2010. No doubt Valencia would prefer to keep him, but their finances are in such a tattered state that they’re simply not able to turn down serious bids for their players.
Alexis Sanchez would be another good addition at White Hart Lane.
Criticized for failing to live up to the €26 million Barcelona paid Udinese for his services in 2011, the Chile international still managed to find the back of the net on 11 occasions last season and also registered an impressive 13 assists, despite appearing in only 29 matches in all competitions—many of them from the bench.
Finally, Tottenham could do a lot worse than to make a serious play for Luis Suarez.
Yes, the Uruguayan has been more trouble than he’s worth at Liverpool, and yes the Reds are holding out for a bid exceeding £40 million, but Bale’s goals will have to be scored by someone, and having outscored his counterpart by two last season Suarez would, on paper, be a nice acquisition.
And wouldn’t Spurs love to pull one over Arsenal by beating them to their number-one transfer target?
In any event, Levy and Villas-Boas will have no shortage of options to consider should Bale be allowed to join Real Madrid. In fact, they may well end up with a stronger squad than they had when the Welshman was in it.