Ranking the Players Spurs Bought with the Gareth Bale Money
While Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is notoriously watchful when it comes to keeping control of the purse strings, he allowed Spurs’ manager Andre Villas-Boas to reinvest the money as he saw fit. The result was the Portuguese bringing in seven players (excluding youth prospect Zeki Fryers) with the goal of taking Spurs to the next level.
Following the departure of Roberto Soldado, we’re ranking those seven players in order of best to worst.
The ranking is based on their impact on the club since arrival compared to the amount that was spent on acquiring them and their reputation prior to arriving at the Lane.
7. Roberto Soldado
Fee: £26 million
With a hefty fee and a fine goalscoring pedigree at Valencia, Roberto Soldado was arguably the player who Spurs fans had the highest hopes for.
Having averaged better than a goal every two league starts at Los Che, Getafe and Osasuna, there was a weight of expectation on Soldado’s shoulders. However, he never looked capable of hitting the same heights in England, as he simply failed to adjust to the demands of the Premier League.
His return of seven league goals—four of which were penalties—across two seasons was simply unacceptable for a team with the attacking capabilities of Spurs, and he’ll be hoping that his move to Villarreal will revitalise his flagging career.
6. Erik Lamela
Fee: £30 million
Only ahead of Soldado on the basis that he may still prove some worth, Erik Lamela has arguably been a bigger disappointment. While the Spanish striker was signed to supplement Spurs' attacking options, Lamela was signed as a like-for-like replacement for Bale. It has been a billing he has completely failed to live up to.
Despite brief flashes of genius—including one goal that was voted the best of last season’s Europa League—Lamela has been an immensely frustrating figure for the most part, failing to achieve any sort of consistency.
The longer he toils at the Lane—and the bigger the eventual loss that Spurs will presumably have to take on him—may serve to push him below Soldado.
5. Etienne Capoue
Fee: £8.6 million
While a largely dependable figure, Etienne Capoue never looked capable of quite providing the quality required at Spurs.
He made just 17 league starts across his two seasons with the club and was never able to earn a consistent run in the first team despite being capable of playing in both defence and midfield.
4. Vlad Chiriches
Fee: £8.5 million
For Vlad Chiriches—now at Napoli—his time at Spurs was a tale of two seasons. He hit the ground running and was one of the club’s best performers during the tumultuous 2013/14 season despite largely serving as a back-up player.
However, in his second season he hardly got a look in under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, making just eight league starts and falling badly off the pace.
The £4.5 million that Spurs recouped of his fee softens the blow of him not quite working out at the Lane.
Fee: £17 million
Paulinho presents something of a conundrum when it comes to assessing his time at Spurs.
While he readily established himself as a mainstay of the first team, he never truly lived up to the hype that greeted his arrival at White Hart Lane.
The third most expensive of the seven signings after Lamela and Soldado, Paulinho was sold this summer for £10 million, a testament to Daniel Levy’s negotiating skills despite the £7 million loss.
His career at Spurs wasn’t a complete write off by any means, but it never quite delivered either.
2. Nacer Chadli
Fee: £6 million
Given the fantastic reputations boasted by Lamela and Soldado prior to their arrival at Tottenham, it’s a testament to how good Nacer Chadli has been that he is ranked second of the seven players on the list.
He gave a limited account of himself during his first season at the club, but in the last campaign he came into his own, scoring 11 times and generating eight assists in 28 league starts, per WhoScored.
While he is still guilty of turning in some nondescript performances, he has all the makings of an important player for Spurs this season.
1. Christian Eriksen
Fee: £11.5 million
Combined with the fact that he cost a comparatively paltry £11.5 million, Christian Eriksen is by far and away the best of Spurs’ seven signings made with the Bale money.
All transfer fees are per the Daily Mail.