It’s finally over. Months and months of constant speculation and regurgitated insight have left the majority celebrating the Bale departure rather than bemoaning the loss. Tottenham looked to have sculpted a squad from the ashes of the Gareth Bale era capable of challenging for the highest honours, and I think the majority of fans will have emerged from the saga with an overwhelming degree of optimism rather than despair about the future.
Is the deal a cause for relief and optimism for the Premier League club now?
It is rare that all-round transfer window aficionado and Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy has his say publicly on transfer deals, and his comments following the Bale deal really emphasise the magnitude of the departure. He had the following to say on the club’s website:
“Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for the future. He is a player whose career we have fostered and developed and he was only a year into his new four year contract.”
“Such has been the attention from Real Madrid and so great is Gareth’s desire to join them, that we have taken the view that the player will not be sufficiently committed to our campaign in the current season.”
“We wish Gareth all the best in the future and he shall always be welcome at the Lane.”
Is this a swipe at the departing Welshman, or just an honest assessment to draw the line under the whole issue?
As is often the case it is probably a bit of both. Whilst few us were party to anything bar opinion and speculation during the saga, I would imagine the majority of fans could infer the sentiment of the club at the time.
Spurs never wanted to lose such a prized asset, the ambition of the club under Villas-Boas has been clear. The pursuit of the much talked about ‘project’ involves progression, something that cannot be achieved by selling off their best players. This was learnt painfully in the eras of Berbatov and Carrick.
Naturally with this in mind, Levy would be a little frustrated that he has been forced into selling largely against his will. When a player is keen to leave and a buying club are willing to do anything in the power to make a deal happen, in the majority of cases a move materialises. So maybe Levy and Spurs are a little bitter in footballing terms.
In business terms though, Levy has probably masterminded the single biggest transfer masterstroke in the clubs history. Bale’s influence in years to come may well be viewed more in outgoing financial terms than his actual footballing contributions. Tottenham have brought in 7 world-class players in place of 1, why is there a need to be bitter?
Levy’s honest summary of the situation really just forms a simple justification for the deal, if he ever actually really needed one. I expect the majority of pragmatic Spurs fans would share this same view and applaud the club’s Chairman for the ridiculous extortion of Real Madrid. Even those staying neutral over the situation would largely accept that Spurs have got the best end of the tiresome saga.
Does the underlying sense of bitterness just suggest Levy is trying to get the last laugh?
As much as Levy has to all intents and purposes won this summer battle, he was undoubtedly stung by a number of underhand acts by player and club. Training ground snubs, shirt releases and the creation of a stage more suited to a gig than a football ground were enough to enrage the Spurs Chairman.
No one messes with Levy right?
The summer was as much a power struggle between Bale and Spurs as it was between Perez and Levy. Levy hasn’t got to where he is in the business world without the hunger and ego to come out on top, and his desire to get the best out of this deal for Spurs typifies this brilliantly. So maybe this bitter tone is just Levy saving face a little, but if we are honest he never really had to.
When it comes down to it Spurs got an unbelievable price, and Bale’s departure may well precede a serious upturn in the club’s fortunes going forward. As bitter as Levy may seem, he will undoubtedly be as content as anyone with the business the club has done.
I don’t think his final remark was meant to be hollow at all in wishing Bale all the best for the future. I think this is something that the majority of Spurs fans would echo too as both player and club finally go their separate ways.
Was this a final swipe at Bale or an honest summary of the summer?