After another virtuoso performance against Inter Milan on tuesday, Spurs winger Gareth Bale’s stock continues to rise and rise. As van der Vaart noted after the game, “Everyone is scared of him (Bale). Maicon is the best right-back in the world – he killed him.” Performances such as this and his previous one against Inter tend to get you noticed across Europe. Of course, this will lead a number of clubs to look covetously in Spurs direction. Despite the fact that Bale has mentioned he aims to see out his contract at Spurs, William Hill are currently quoting 10/3 that Bale will have left Spurs by the first day of next season. Spurs fans will have their fingers crossed that this won’t happen, but with every good performance he puts in, it becomes more and more likely that a big club will make Spurs an offer they can’t refuse.
Naturally, Barcelona have gone public with their interest in Tottenham’s most prized asset. Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to COM Radio confirming the club’s interest. “He is an interesting footballer with a different style which could be positive for La Liga. But I need to make it clear I have not spoken to anyone.”
Despite making it clear that nobody has been contacted as of yet, a public announcement regarding Bale demonstrates a serious lack of class by Zubizarreta. How can the knowledge that a club as huge and powerful as Barcelona is keeping an eye on you be anything but distracting and unsettling for the 21-year-old Bale?
Of course, Barcelona has something of a history for being disrespectful and inconsiderate in their transfer dealings. Zubizarreta’s talking openly about Bale echoes the Spanish club’s all-too-public courting of Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas over the summer. Arsenal fans will know just how frustrating Barcelona can be, choosing to use the press to put the player in an awkward position rather than contend with things in a calm and controlled fashion behind the scenes. Unfortunately, this just seems to be their way and there seems to be little that can be done about it.
Spurs will be desperate to keep hold of Bale, but it’s clear that there will be no shortage of takers for the prodigious young Welshman after his supreme start to the season. Of course, Spurs would make a huge profit were they to decide to sell, but if Harry Redknapp really wants to be contending for trophies, he’ll have to hold onto players like Bale. In the battle to make Tottenham a team which contends for trophies, Spurs ability to keep hold of their best players may well be the biggest challenge. Barcelona may well be a big draw for young Gareth Bale, whether or not Spurs can provide him with an incentive to stay will be a good signifier of whether they have what it takes to compete at the top.
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