Hawk Eye

How much is Gareth Bale worth?

Getty Images  

“Jingle Bale, jingle Bale, jingle all the way!

C'mon you can buy 3 prime Ronaldinhos for a €100 million, Señor Perez!”

Three prime Ronaldinhos would certainly be better than Gareth Bale, but this ‘jingle’ seems to have an entirely different focus. When Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino was asked to air his views on Real Madrid’s world record offer for the Welsh midfielder, his response seemed to reflect what many thought of the bid.

“How I feel about Madrid signing Bale for about €100m? He is an excellent player, but the fee that's being mentioned shows a lack of respect for the world we live in.”

Unfortunately, Martino easily forgot that Barca has regularly bought players for astounding sums of money. Recently, Brazilian sensation Neymar was acquired for 57 million Euros.

Neither should one take Arsene Wenger’s protestations against the money spent on transfers seriously. The Arsenal manager has been too eager to acquire a marquee player lately and pay “big money” for him.

Despite all the intangibles involved, one needs to ascertain Madrid’s exact gain from this transfer. Perhaps, to assess that issue better, one needs to first learn what Tottenham Hotspur has lost by selling Bale.

It’s obvious the Welshman possesses amazing offensive qualities. Plus, Bale is the kind of player, to use a cliché, who can turn matches on his own. The 24-year-old seems unfazed by most challenges he faces.

But is he indispensable to Spurs? Most would say yes. It’s tough to keep count of the matches Bale won for the north London club over the past two seasons. Moreover, Andre Villas-Boas’ side has not looked sharp in attack in their opening two matches of the season.

Against Crystal Palace and Swansea, it seemed Spurs could do with a player who would unlock a tightly set-up defence. Both matches were won 1-0, thanks to penalties by striker Roberto Soldado. Yet, not everything is lost for Spurs.

The club has astutely bought players this summer and should reap rewards from a coherent transfer policy. Perhaps, the only poor decision has been to sell talented defender Steven Caulker. But the arrival of Paulinho and Etienne Capoue affords Spurs double-sided advantages.

While providing steel to the defense, the duo can also use possession creatively. Paulinho is not averse to stepping forward to aid offensive movement, while Capoue possesses the ability to dictate tempo. Against Swansea, the Brazilian had most attempts on goal by any player while Frenchman Capoue registered a 90% pass completion rate.

Capoue is a no-nonsense ball winner too, finishing on the top of ball recoveries and tackles charts against Michael Laudrup’s side.

Nacer Chadli has not, unfortunately, shown much enterprise down the left yet but the possible arrival of Erik Lamela and another attacking midfielder should sprinkle spice into the Spurs offense. Buying a central defender should also be a priority for chairman Daniel Levy.

But, without the money from Bale’s transfer, it would be tough to see these acquisitions by Spurs. Though the Welshman was certainly central to AVB’s plans, his sale affords the manager an opportunity to mould the side in his philosophy of ‘vertical football.’

The same cannot be said of Real Madrid. The arrival of Bale would not enhance the team in a significant way since it participates in a league devoid of powerful challengers. In Europe, Madrid could be found wanting defensively in wide areas.

With the signings of Isco and Bale, the only way to accommodate every galactico into the starting line-up would be to play Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker. Mesut Ozil, Isco and Bale would play behind the Portuguese playmaker.

This setup could cause problems for Madrid as the front four are too attack-minded and rarely help the team when not in possession. Hence, presently, selling Bale doesn’t seem to have hurt Spurs much. But his arrival could damage Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid greatly.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 3:45:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/blogs/blog-hawk-eye/article5062358.ece

Next Story