Why Selling Gareth Bale May Actually Be Tottenham's Best Move
If you support Spurs, it's natural to feel trepidation when you come to the sinking realisation that Bale won't be bailing out Tottenham with his free-kicks, long-range goals or pronghorn-like speed.
That fear is blown out of proportion.
There's a famous comment by former Italian manager Cesare Maldini regarding what he'd sacrifice for Zinedine Zidane, via Andrew Anthony at The Observer: "I would give up five players to have Zizou in my squad."
Talk about a hyperbolic compliment from Maldini. Of all people, he would know that the team is more important than one star player.
Pele scored 255 official goals in his previous five seasons heading into the 1962 calendar year but his FIFA World Cup campaign ended prematurely due to injury.
What happened to Brazil?
Djalma Santos, Garrincha, Mario Zagallo, Vava and Zito is what happened. Brazil lifted the World Cup.
Why should Maldini know this first-hand? He played at that World Cup and was included in the same Team of the Tournament as the aforementioned five Brazilians.
Levy not only possesses the dexterity to thrash out deals advantageous for Tottenham, he is willing to take the same type of calculated risks other clubs have taken when they lost their MVP.
Valencia weren't expected to win when they sold Gaizka Mendieta, the driving force behind the club reaching two successive UEFA Champions League finals and the preeminent midfielder in the world at the time, to Lazio for £29 million in 2001.
Los Che won La Liga the following season with Zonal Marking's Michael Cox calling the team "as boring a side as won a domestic league title in the whole decade."
It was substance over style.
Another recent example is José Mourinho's Inter Milan team side being so Zlatan Ibrahimovic-centric that the Swede shot down accusations of the offense being altered to his needs.
"It's not true that the team is Ibra-dependent," Ibrahimovic said, via Football Italia. "Everyone of us depends on each other."
Inter used the £40 million from Ibrahimovic's transfer to Barcelona plus Samuel Eto'o to construct a Champions League-winning team.
Ibrahimovic: "I'm joining Barcelona to win the Champions League." Inter win the treble. #momentsiwillneverforget— Jimmy Watson (@CurvaNordSoul) March 27, 2013
When Mourinho was asked if he felt betrayed by Ibrahimovic, the Special One remarked, as reported by Rob Hughes at The New York Times, “Thanks to him [Ibrahimovic] we are Italian champions."
Unlike the hapless Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward, Levy knows what he's doing.
Levy is always striving to place Spurs in pole position to be relevant again.
This is why you should believe in his project post-Bale.
|Gareth Bale (£85.3M)||Erik Lamela (£30M)|
|Roberto Soldado (£26M)|
|Christian Eriksen (£11.5M)|
|Etienne Capoue (£9M)|
|Vlad Chiriches (£8.5M)|
|Nacer Chadli (£7M)|
Grading Major Spurs Signings
Erik Lamela, 21-year-old RAM | Grade: A
A few years ago when River Plate were in turmoil, South American correspondent Tim Vickery provided a legitimate reason for why Lamela did not produce the goods, via BBC Sport: "In 19 games, River have managed just 15 goals. Responsibility has been unfairly heaped on Eric Lamela, a hugely promising 19-year-old attacking midfielder, who combines well but has had no one to combine with."
Look how far he has come.
Lamela went through growing pains during his first season at Roma but drastically improved last season, scoring 15 goals whilst getting his way past defenders with ease.
Even though he infamously miscued a header several yards out from goal against Lazio, he's sneaky like Tim Cahill in being able to outjump taller, stronger defenders to score a header.
One downside is that Lamela can sometimes be tempestuous as when he kicked Giorgio Chiellini (as per Football Italia) or told Roma teammate Pablo Osvaldo (also per Football Italia): "Shut your mouth, you're not Maradona."
Andros Townsend, one of the most fluid players you'll ever see, is a world-class dribbler but his starting position is in jeopardy because Lamela operates on the right.
Roberto Soldado, 28-year-old CF | Grade: A
Soldado, a pure finisher, has registered 30, 27, 25 and 20 goals in his last four seasons.
11 - Roberto Soldado has scored 11 goals in his last nine league appearances. Artillery.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 25, 2013
None of Spurs' No. 9s scored 15 league goals or more last season, therefore his signing fulfills a primary need.
Paulinho, 25-year-old B2B MF | Grade: A+
He's a robust tackler, completes 88.4 percent of his passes and has stamina levels that rival Ramires.
If you're a risk-taker in fantasy football, Paulinho could be a left-field option because he averages 3.7 shots per game, which is higher than Daniel Sturridge (3.3), Christian Benteke (2.7) and Soldado (2.3).
Christian Eriksen, 21-year-old CAM | Grade: A
A pass-first creative playmaker who has notched up 23 assists for club and country since last October.
A minor concern is his tendency to give up against obnoxiously rough midfielders, which is why he struggled to shake off Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel at Euro 2012.
However, Eriksen is only 21 and has the potential to break into the upper echelon class of footballers.
Etienne Capoue, 25-year-old CM | Grade: B-
It would be negligent to not mention Capoue's inconsistencies.
"From time to time he doesn't apply himself as much as he needs to," said Capoue's ex-manager Alain Casanova, via Ligue1.com. "We know he's someone who has a tendency to relax a bit."
The beauty of Spurs' stacked midfield is that, when Capoue's form dips or if he suffers an injury like he did against Arsenal, André Villas-Boas has a world-class replacement in Sandro.
Capoue's injury shows us that it is better to have a large squad of quality players than a single galactico. Luckily, Levy already knew.— Liquid Spurs (@LiquidSpurs) September 1, 2013
Nacer Chadli, 25-year-old LAM | Grade: B
Physically immense and technically superb.
He and Dusan Tadic wreaked havoc for Twente against opposing defences.
One criticism of Chadli is his inability to replicate his dominant displays against weak sides (i.e. a hat trick of assists vs. UE Santa Coloma) against higher opposition.
In six games against Ajax, he scored once and didn't create a goal.
While Capoue is getting alot of praise, so should Nacer Chadli. He's created the most chances in the PL so far along with Hazard. Underrated— A (@oGrime) August 26, 2013
* 23-year-old centre-back Vlad Chiriches won't be given a grade because I didn't watch any Romanian Liga I games last season.
For what it's worth, his UEFA Europa League displays showed suspect positioning and inability to marshal a back line against crosses.
That said, he's extremely confident with the ball, like Andreas Granqvist.
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