Andre Villas-Boas must be taking a long, deep breath of North London air as the harsh light of the press rears its ugly head from his path and turns towards another, perhaps more important issue at Tottenham and that is the future of Gareth Bale.
As Barcelona and Real Madrid come sniffing around the Welshman like a pack of hungry wolves ready to pounce on their prey, it is crucial that Spurs remain stalwart as they did with such longevity in the Luka Modric saga. For if the 23 year old follows in the footsteps of his former Spurs team mate, the lasting effects that it could have for Villas-Boas’ side might be irreversible.
Firstly, to lose Gareth Bale to one of the two Spanish giants will be essentially handing your greatest weapon over to a club that you are hoping to emulate. Daniel Levy wants his club in the Champions League again; there is no doubt about that. To see the Welsh prodigy work his way round defenders that are bearing the Spurs crest would be a bitter pill to swallow for fans. In order to become the best, you must hold on to your stars. This makes Spurs qualifying for the Champions League next season all the more important. Will a player the calibre of Gareth Bale want another season in the painfully dull Europa League when he could be guaranteed success at a club that is ready made for trophies?
A brief glance across London sees Spurs’ bitter rivals Arsenal, without a trophy in years and a relatively new team only beginning to connect efficiently. Over recent seasons, the Gunners have had a habit of letting their best players leave the club. Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie have all searched for pastures new as the Emirates trophy cabinet remains firmly empty. Tottenham must be very careful that they do not follow in the footsteps of their foes. Luka Modric dazzled at White Hart Lane but left for Spain when Champions League football and trophy opportunities presented themselves. Now, with Gareth Bale teetering on the edge, Levy & co must remain strong willed and realise that the winger is an essential part of the future of the club. Besides, the replacements purchased through Luka Modric’s exodus hardly took the breath away. Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele are good players but are nowhere near the skill levels of the departed Croatian. Is this what will happen if Bale flies from the nest? £40 million on 5 or 6 very adequate players will not satisfy fans at The Lane.
So, how do Tottenham keep their star man from packing his bags and heading to sunny Spain? Well, as previously mentioned, Champions League qualification is imperative. Not only will this give Bale the European platform that he desires but will also attract a host of top footballers who are desperate to make a name for themselves in the biggest club competition on the continent.
Levy is no stranger to remaining stubborn; he held Luka Modric’s departure off for an entire season. This attitude must be taken with Bale, after all, he is contracted to Tottenham having only signed a new deal in June of this year. This stance would first of all, deter the Spanish giants from making insultingly undervalued bids and secondly would let Bale know how much he means to the club.
While the January window creeps closer and closer, Tottenham will know that all eyes will be on their prized asset, especially those of Jose Mourinho, who is ready to make footballing mouth’s water with a Bale-Ronaldo partnership at the Bernabeu. If a genuine offer isn’t made this January, expect a nervous roller-coaster of a summer for Spurs fans as they find out the future of their star man. As long as Levy sees sense and doesn’t get hypnotised by the immediate financial benefit of selling Gareth Bale, the Welshman will hopefully be lighting up the Premier League for many years to come.