For fans of science fiction the saying: “This is the end, but the moment has been prepared for” cloister bells will be ringing in their heads. For those uninitiated, these poignant words are the last uttered by Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor, who left the show in 1981 to be replaced by Peter Davison. This may seem like an odd way to start an article on a football site, and perhaps you would be right but the words have resonance, especially as we are about to lose our star and talisman.
Doctor Who is a TV show and institution in a constant state of flux. When one leading man has shown his qualities, drawn us in and entertained us, the Doctor is switched; but never to the detriment of the show. Doctor Who goes on, adapts and improves. Losing Gareth Bale will not mean the end of our ambitions to become a top four team. For once Spurs seem to have been a plan in place for when the inevitable occurs.
Over the years we’ve seen players come and go, and often we have seen our stars either sold to keep the club afloat or poached from us by the those able to offer Champions League football or incredible wages.
It always hurts when a player that has brought so much to the team finally moves on, even more so when we are on the verge of something big. We should have developed a thick skin by now, after all, in the last twenty or so years we have lost the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, Jurgen Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, David Ginola, Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, and last year Luka Modric.
These players are often swept from our hearts without the club having a back-up plan in place. I remember when that contemptible man in the raincoat sold Ginola.
A couple of days before, I went to watch us play a friendly against Birmingham City. The players were warming up before the match next to where we were sat, Les Ferdinand and Darren Anderton gave a cheery wave and said hello, whilst Daveeed kept his head down, and looked glum. It was clear he was headed for the door.
I remember being broken hearted that he was being forced out, and annoyed because we had just signed a striker for our record fee. What was the point in bringing in Sergey Rebrov if we were going to cut off one of his main creative sources?
I don’t remember who took Ginola’s place in the team, and that probably says all you need to know about whoever did.
Bringing us back to the here and now, we have just signed Roberto Soldado from Valencia, for our club record fee. Would selling Bale cut off his creative supply line? To an extent, yes it would, but for once, like good boy scouts or Doctor Who writers, we are prepared.
Last season we relied on Bale, we were by no means the one-man team that other fans would have us believe, but we definitely needed his goals at vital points in key games. I am sure we have seen his epic goal against West Ham enough times now to remember it’s importance, as well as the sheer joy and relief it brought to every Spurs fan. Our reliance on Bale was in a large part down to a lack of creativity and reliably unreliable strikers.
When we sold Modric last year, we didn’t properly replace him; the manager clearly had someone in mind in Joao Moutinho, but a deal could not be done. It finally looks like we are addressing that dearth of flair and creativity by potentially bringing in Brazilian playmaker Willian.
Our reliance on Bale was in a large part down to a lack of creativity and reliably unreliable strikers
He has similar stats to Luka Modric, not many assists, not many goals, but his key passes and his natural ability to create space out-of-nothing will do wonders for the team, as long as Chelsea steer keep their oily beaks out.
Yes he might play higher up the pitch, but the point is the same. Last season especially at home against teams who sat back, we missed someone with a bit of guile and a few tricks up their sleeve.
Couple that introduction with a complete overhaul of our midfield, we are looking scarily over-prepared.
The lumbering Tom Huddlestone has gone, replaced with the highly rated and seemingly very assured Etienne Capoue. Scott Parker’s short career at Spurs is also over, with his berth taken by Paulinho. We should also remember that we have signed Nacer Chadli, who appears to have the ability to cut in from the wing, but clearly has yet to develop Bale’s shooting accuracy.
With more signings lined up, possibly in the shape of Eric Lamela, Spurs look to be spending Bale’s fee wisely
With these additions we should be able to move the ball forward a lot quicker and effectively this year. Playing in front of these is finally a striker blessed with intelligent movement and a deadly finish; we should at last be able to start making something of those balls forward.
Will we need to rely on Bale or another single player as much this year? Hopefully not.
It would of course be beautiful to see this new look Spurs with Bale in it, but should that dream never come true, we will have to thank the media, Time Square and Daniel Levy for recouping us enough money to rebuild so well. With more signings lined up, possibly in the shape of Eric Lamela, Spurs look to be spending Bale’s fee wisely.
This year at least it would appear that we won’t be having the beating heart ripped out of the team only for it to be replaced with a second hand water pump from a 1972 Austin Maxi.