The futures of a number of European stars are up for grabs in the transfer market this summer, such as Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Wayne Rooney, yet a strong contingent of the media’s focus has been placed solely on Gareth Bale.
The Welsh wonder has just come to the end of a real coming-of-age season, transforming to new heights as the year went on, and finishing the campaign as Tottenham’s highest scorer with 26 goals in all competitions, in addition to being named the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the year, all at the age of just 23.
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It begs the question as to what is next for Gareth Bale. Should he stay put for a year at White Hart Lane? Should he pursue his shot at the big time with a move to Real Madrid? Or should he stay in the Premier League, and switch allegiances to Manchester United?
The rumours and murmurings are rife, as the entirety of Europe’s footballing fanbase hotly anticipate the Wales international’s next move. But should his current club, Tottenham Hotspur, be doing more to end the constant supply of speculation? From an outside view at least, it appears that the player and club are in limbo with each other, and undoubtedly, the White Hart Lane faithful would prefer a concrete solution.
Had Spurs not come up short in the race for Champions League qualification, the constant speculation surrounding Bale’s future would be considerably less – even if the claims made by the tabloids regarding a proposed move to La Liga are false and based on little direct proof, the circumstantial evidence has undoubtedly been that the Welshman is more than capable of playing in Europe, and therefore should be, according to some journalists.
Yet, the Lilywhites once again missed out on top tier continental football, and with the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea all expected to invest heavily in the transfer market following rather dormant campaigns – excluding the Premier League champions – it seems that Spurs’ chances of breaking their glass ceiling next season are no greater and arguably less in comparison to previous seasons, citing further justification for Bale to decide against a stay in North London.
Around a month ago, rumours sprouted that Tottenham were offering their talismanic winger a £150k per-week deal to extend his current contract past 2016. Clearly, no one expects Bale to fully see out his tenure, especially whilst Spurs remain a healthy-sized but by no means the biggest fish in the ocean of European football, but had the Welshman signed on the dotted line, it would at least have put discussions of a potential departure on hold for the course of the summer.
But we are yet to see any development from the club, the player or his agent, since the announcement that Bale was set to become Tottenham’s most expensive player in terms of wages throughout the club’s history. The resulting effect, with the Welshman yet to actually sign a contract extension, is that the speculation is rife and constant, with every European club that can claim a domestic title this season reportedly ready to make an offer.
Most alarmingly from a Tottenham perspective, the news since has been entirely focused on a move away, undoubtedly influenced by Gareth Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, going on Spanish television and telling Marca TV – a broadcasting station that has close links to Real Madrid – “If Florentino [Pérez, the Real president] is interested in Gareth Bale, it would be an honour and we’d listen. But his contract is with Tottenham. We aren’t free to talk with anybody at the moment, that’s the point we’re at. I can understand a lot of teams are interested in him. He’s a great player but he has a contract with Tottenham. I don’t know if there has been a bid [from Real]. What I do know is that the player has three years left on his contract.”
He was also keen to mention that his client had not agreed a new deal with his current club, and that he was furthermore a better player than Neymar, Barcelona’s new star signing.
There is every chance however that Daniel Levy is well in the know behind closed doors. The Spurs chairman is a keen negotiator, often praised for his ability to get the best deals possible for his club. Although transfer speculation should always be taken with a pinch of salt, the more clubs seen to be interested in purchasing the 23 year old the better from a Tottenham perspective, should Levy be looking to sell over the course of the summer.
That being said, it will hardly do the club much good in terms of outward costs in allowing Bale’s head to be filled with ideas of potential moves away, as it will only constitute in him demanding further excessive wage packages, or even convince him that he’d be better off plying his trade at a club playing Champions League football.
It is clear their either way, something has to give in the next few weeks. Spurs fans will complain that the media is haranguing their star player, yet until the club send out an official message, that has greater weight and substance behind it than Steffan Freund telling reporters; “He’s really positive, He’s enjoying playing for Spurs, he’s enjoying being with his team-mates.”, the tabloids, redtops and online bloggers will do what they do best – speculate.
The fans deserve to know Bale’s fate sooner rather than later, as it not only will impact the Welshman’s future, but also the immediate future of the club. Furthermore, the lack of official announcement will only serve to fuel arguments that Bale already has his sights firmly set on a move to one of Europe’s superpowers. It can only be so long Bale holds out for a new deal, before his ambitions become obvious.
Should Daniel Levy make an official statement about Gareth Bale’s future?
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