Not since 2009 has the summer transfer window been as hectic as the current edition. To no surprise, Real Madrid are at the center of it once again. In 2009, the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer shattered world-record transfer fees, and, in 2013, Los Blancos hope to rewrite their own history by signing Tottenham star Gareth Bale.
Still, Gareth Bale is undoubtedly the biggest prize on the market, even though the Tottenham front office has insisted the Welshman is not for sale. After a 21-goal campaign in the 2012-13 Premier League season en route to PFA Player of the Year Award honors, Real Madrid appear poised to make a world-record transfer fee of roughly £85-90 million.
However, considering Spurs' dire need to consistently qualify for the UEFA Champions League, would selling Gareth Bale help or hurt the North London club?
The answer may be more ambiguous than some may believe.
Why Selling Bale Would Hurt Spurs
Make no mistake, Gareth Bale is an extraordinary talent.
Throughout the history of the Barclays Premier League, I cannot recall one footballer having so much influence for his team. Thierry Henry of Arsenal, circa 2004, is a realistic comparison, but even the Gunners had Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires among other ultra-talented footballers alongside him at Highbury.
Any football fan familiar with social networking has probably stumbled across memes, trolls, etc. who associate Spurs as being a one-man team.
Anyone who follows the Premier League would notice that Tottenham is a quality side and present talent at all positions.
Hugo Lloris was one of the top goalkeepers last season in his debut campaign with Spurs, Jan Vertonghen's skill is equivalent to fellow Belgian center-back Vincent Kompany of Manchester City and Spurs possess arguably the top center-midfielders in the Premier League with Sandro, Mousa Dembele and the recently signed Paulinho.
Nonetheless, losing Gareth Bale would be a massive blow for Tottenham at first. While the Lillywhites have made strides at the forward position by signing Roberto Soldado from Valencia, Bale's 21 Premier League goals would be missed.
Tottenham has the "luxury" of playing newly promoted side Crystal Palace in their 2013-14 Premier League opener. While on paper this match appears to be a free three points for Spurs, history shows opening day is difficult for even the high-profiled clubs.
Last season, eventual champions Manchester United lost to Everton at Goodison Park on the opening match of the 2012-13 Premier League season. Ironically, one year later, former Everton boss David Moyes is at the helm of Manchester United after legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement in May.
Tottenham will be yearning for a victory on the road to Crystal Palace since their next two matches come against very formidable opponents, Swansea and Arsenal.
If Bale does not suit up for Spurs in time for the August 18 opener, the club may find scoring difficult, as Crystal Palace is expected to play highly cautious in their first Premier League match since 2005. On the flip side, if Bale IS in the lineup, but has his mind elsewhere, the situation could turn sour for both Bale and manager Andre Villas-Boas if Spurs begin the season in poor form.
Why Selling Bale Would Help Spurs
Lets face it—£85 million is enough money to buy between three and five quality players. This is the MINIMUM price Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would be willing to sell Bale for.
While Levy's summer transfer approach has appeared to change this time around, as seen by his purchases of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli, he is still renowned as a deadline-day shark when it comes to buying and selling players.
Levy is consistently playing a game of cat and mouse with other clubs. In my opinion, Levy has already made his mind up about Bale; whether he keeps the Welshman or unloads him for a world-record fee will depend on Real Madrid's willingness to call or fold.
It has also been reported, per Darren Lewis of the Mirror, that Real Madrid could add one of their players, Fabio Coentrao or Angel di Maria to name a few, in addition to their transfer fee in their quest to obtain Gareth Bale from Tottenham.
Spurs desperately need an attacking threat on the wings, and a player like di Maria would be a solid addition for Tottenham.
Of course, if Spurs are to make adjustments to the squad, they would have to act fast to sign as the transfer deadline is just under three weeks away. If Levy were to make another purchase or two (especially attacking players), it may be a sign that Tottenham will in fact, let Bale go.
If no moves are made before the August 31 deadline, Levy would have to wait until January to make changes with his side. Spurs fans still point to the club's failure of obtaining a quality striker last January as the primary reason for missing out on a Champions League spot.
Unloading Bale would also allow for Spurs to become a more offensive minded club if they can add another high-profiled striker. Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid has been a name continuously thrown around—potentially in the Gareth Bale "deal."
While Tottenham's offense revolved around Bale last season, selling the Welshman would probably mean Andre Villas-Boas conjuring a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation, allowing the center-midfielders possession and attacking threats on the wings for distribution purposes. If Bale is not the "route one" option for Spurs this season, it is possible they may actually be a more well-rounded team.
History will ultimately tell whether or not Spurs should or should not have sold Gareth Bale.
Like anything else, hindsight is 20/20 in professional football, but for now, the Bale Saga is not looking as black and white as some may see it.
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