Real Madrid News: What the Gareth Bale Deal Means for Other Bernabeu Attackers

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Real Madrid News: What the Gareth Bale Deal Means for Other Bernabeu Attackers
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Gareth Bale's much hyped move to the Bernabeu is almost a done deal

With Gareth Bale's Real Madrid unveiling thought to be imminent, it is time to analyse what this means for the Bernabeu's existing attacking lineup.

Pete Jenson, writing for the Daily Mail, stated that Tottenham Hotspur have accepted a world-record bid from Real Madrid for Bale. Meanwhile Ben Rumsby of the Telegraph suggests another club may have entered the bidding.

The latter could be an act of provocation by the North Londoners to get the transfer finalised on their terms and, if so, the official announcement of Bale's arrival in the Spanish capital cannot be too far away.

In light of this, it is time to examine where the Welshman will fit in at the Bernabeu and what impact his arrival will have on the existing Los Blancos attacking personnel.

Where better to start than the man whose world transfer record stands to be broken by the Spurs star?

Cristiano Ronaldo

The 2012 Ballon d'Or runner-up has himself been subject to transfer speculation this summer as he is yet to agree to a new contract. Last season, Ronaldo set the alarm bells ringing in Madrid after notifying the press that he was "sad."

Furthermore, Jack De Menezes, writing for the Independent, reported Ronaldo's less than enthusiastic comments upon his questioning of whether Gareth Bale would be a good addition to the Los Blancos roster.

"In terms of the transfer fee, you should speak to the coach and president about that. I have my opinion, but I'm not going to reveal it in front of the cameras."

Price tags aside, the pending arrival of the PFA and FWA footballer of the year is unlikely to displace the Portuguese. Although both players have traditionally been placed on the left, the Welshman set the Premier League alight last season, cutting in from the right and playing as a "Number 10"—typically demonstrated against Arsenal at White Hart Lane last season (sourced by Squawka.)

This shows Bale's movement against Arsenal at White Hart Lane this season

The below heat map (sourced from the official Real Madrid website) shows Ronaldo's overall movement during Real's opening La Liga game against Real Betis. Typically Ronaldo's business was on the left flank, favouring to cut inside the opposing right-back to have a crack at goal with his preferred magical right wand.

Ronaldo against Real Betis
By uniting the two forwards, one left footed right-winger and one right footed left-winger, it will bring balance, albeit in an unorthodox way, to Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Real's fullbacks can provide the width via lung busting overlapping runs which, whilst it could expose Real on the counter attack, envisages an all-out attacking style that could highly entertain the Bernabeu faithful.

Isco

Isco capped an excellent Real La Liga debut by netting the winner in a fine all-round performance against Real Betis. The €30m (sourced from transfermarkt) summer signing played in a three man midfield working tirelessly for his new team as per the heat map, noting the positions of his key passes.

Isco's key pass count against Real Betis
The acquisition of Bale though may impact the youngster indirectly as presumably he will now be competing directly with Mesut Ozil in the attacking midfield positions.

He carries an advantage by being a young Spanish acquisition and, if he replicates performances like he did against Betis, it will not be long before he, not Bale, becomes the new darling of the Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema

It is difficult to see Benzema being affected by Bale's acquisition. The ex-Lyon target man plays as a traditional number "9", with the advantage being that neither Bale or Ronaldo would be playing to their strengths in this position (in a 4-3-3 formation).

Despite recent speculation linking Benzema star with a transfer to Arsenal, talkSPORT reported Karim Djaziri (the forward's agent) as saying, "we can't stop the rumours, but I can tell you Karim will not go to Arsenal. It's never been a question for him and no contact has been made."

Alvaro Morata

When Spurs' maestro Daniel Levy first entertained the idea of a Gareth Bale transfer to the Bernabeu, he asked for 20-year-old Morata to be included in the deal.

However, during the summer ESPN reported the youngster's understandable wishes to remain at the Bernabeu.

"My dream is to stay at Real Madrid and win titles. Pardeza, Butragueno and Raul came up through the youth ranks, and I want to follow in their footsteps. Ancelotti has asked the younger members of the squad to work even harder than the rest of the first team. I'm ready, and he can put his confidence in me."

The sale of Gonzalo Higuain effectively leaves the youngster in direct competition with Benzema in determining who spearheads the Los Blancos' three man attack and, after finishing top-scorer at the 2013 Under-21 European Championships for Spain, Morata should be confident in taking on the Frenchman.

Mesut Ozil & Angel Di Maria

The German and the Argentine make an unlikely couple in that they appear to be the two players surplus to requirements in the Spanish capital.

Combination of Ozil and Di Maria against Betis (left to right)
Both played on the right-wing against Real Betis and the heat map displays their combined action area. Their amalgamated performance suggests that Real lack balance. Ozil wanders into the centre, whereas Di Maria (as per Bale) is a left footed right-winger but has considerably less end product.

Last season Bale scored 21 goals in 33 league games plus he created 75 key chances compared to Di Maria's seven goals in 32 games and 45 key chances created.

According to Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail, Ozil and Di Maria could be following in the footsteps of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. Both Dutch forwards were sold on the last day of the 2009 summer transfer window following Real's world-record acquisitions of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The point for keeping both players can be argued. In Di Maria's case, the Argentine has been publicly endorsed by CR7. So then, will Los Blancos risk upsetting its favourite son by shipping the winger out of Real?

And from being praised only one week ago, the Daily Mail has linked Ozil with a move to Manchester United as the German appears conscious that his lack of game time may affect his position in the national team.

However, the Daily Mail's report is in stark contrast to the ex-Werder Bremen attacking midfielder's  comments in July when interviewed by ESPN.

"Ancelotti knows exactly what he wants. He has clear ideas, and we are adapting to them. He will help this club grow, and I'm certain we're going to be successful this season."

"I'm not worried about the arrival of Isco - he's a great player and a fantastic signing for Madrid. I don't mind where I play, although the right wing isn't my position - I prefer playing through the middle, where I can be creative."

By putting the Detective Columbo hat on and reading between the lines, Ozil does not want to leave the Bernabeu, but then again, neither did Robben or Sneijder.

Despite the headaches that Ancelotti will encounter in keeping all of his players happy, the purchase of Bale will result in another piece of significant armory for Real. For any Los Blancos fans who think Bale is an unnecessary luxury, here's what Madridista legend Zinedine Zidane had to say.

"My door at Real Madrid will always be open for Gareth and during his first season he will need to use it. He was in the top three player in Europe last season, but he can reach even higher levels. He will get even better. We are looking at a guy who can be the best player in the world for the next four or five years."

If that is not enough, witness his 31 goals from last season—pure genius. 

Gareth Bale's breathtaking 2012/13 season

 

 

 

 

 

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