Connect in the back of the net

Gareth Bale is the one player that epitomises Tottenham’s rise from a side struggling under Juande Ramos into one under Harry Redknapp that is challenging for the Premier League title. His first season in professional football came at Southampton, when as a left back; he impressed many as he got 5 goals in 38 games for the Saints. This saw Bale attract the interest of many Premier League clubs and he decided to sign for Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £10million pounds. Bale’s first two seasons saw him fail to live up to the hype he produced at Southampton, and many Tottenham fans wanted him offloaded, despite the fact he was so young and had rarely been given a chance to prove himself.

After 24 matches for the club, he finally got his first win in a Tottenham shirt against Burnley, which came at the start of his third season at the club. The latter half of the season saw Bale make the breakthrough to the Tottenham side that many had been waiting for. This was mainly down to luck due to him taking Benoit Assou-Ekoto’s place at left back when he was injured but he took his chance in the side to great effect. His goals against Arsenal and Chelsea helped Tottenham to secure an unlikely Champions League qualification; he was rewarded for his efforts with an improve four-year contract at the club. Bale started the 2010-2011 season as he finished the last season with a series of dazzling displays, including a wonder strike against Stoke City. 

After Assou-Ekoto came back from injury, he retook Bale’s place at left back but Bale was moved to the left wing to keep him in the team. His already rising reputation was increased even more when he got a brilliant hat trick away to Inter Milan in what is undoubtedly one of the best individual displays in the competition. He was rewarded for his success that season by winning the PFA Player of the Year award: I think that this was undeserved because even though Bale was brilliant, he faded out a bit in the second half of the season.

This season has seen Bale become one of the main figures attempting to spearhead Tottenham to an unlikely challenge for the title. His form has been imperative to this challenge, with Bale getting 10 goals and creating 7 goals in 22 matches so far. This has helped Tottenham to third place in the Premier League so far and undoubtedly, this has seen Bale reignite the interest he received from Europe’s biggest clubs. Bale has responded to this interest by saying that “he would relish the chance to play abroad should the opportunity present itself.� To the joy of Tottenham fans and the annoyance of Europe’s biggest clubs, he went on to say that “he was not intending to do so (move to Europe) in the near future.�

Barcelona are seen as the favourites to sign Gareth Bale when he leaves Tottenham and it has been suggested that the club are weighing up a move for the Welsh winger. Unlike Tottenham, Catalan giants Barcelona have been playing below expectations and are currently seven points behind Real Madrid in La Liga. This is due to an inability this season to see out games as they have garnered six draws this season, in which in many of them they should have won; a prime example of this is when Lionel Messi squandered a last minute penalty at home to Sevilla. In Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation at the start of the season, Messi played as the central striker with David Villa and one of Pedro and Alexis Sanchez backing him up on the wing.

 Gareth Bale… Barca bound?

Over halfway through the season, David Villa is injured for the rest of the season after breaking his tibia against Al Sadd, while Pedro has struggled for form this season. You might think that this is a disaster for Barcelona but this is when the highly-acclaimed La Masia academy comes into place; to help with this injury crisis, Isaac Cuenca and Christian Tello have been drafted into the first team and have done extremely well so far. Alexis Sanchez is also proving to be worth the money that Barcelona paid to Udinese in the summer with many impressive performances. There is also the Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay, who would be in the first team if it wasn’t for a series of injuries. This suggests that Barcelona do not need another winger as they clearly have strength in depth for the position that Bale plays.

As good a player Gareth Bale is, I don’t think that he is good enough yet to play for Barcelona. Despite their injury crisis in the wing positions this season, Guardiola has used La Masia to get reinforcements for that position and it would not surprise me to see Tello and Cuenca getting more opportunities, even when Villa is fit. If Barcelona were to sign Bale, they would have to pay in excess of £40million pounds for him and this value is too much to pay for the Donkey Kong lookalike, no matter how good he is. I’m sure that Bale will play abroad one day and it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if he replicated the success of David Beckham. 

However, Barcelona would be the wrong place for him to go due to an enormous amount of competition for his position. I think that Bale’s best chance of future success is by staying at Tottenham. A move to one of Europe’s best clubs beckons for Bale in the near future. However, a move to Barcelona would be a catastrophic mistake for Bale and the Catalan club.

Written by Josh Ilan
Follow him on Twitter @footyatjoshilan 
Visit his excellent blog site at joshilanblogs

Also, can you sign this petition to help Barnet FC stay at Underhill for the foreseeable future as they will be without a stadium if the lease isn’t renewed for the stadium, which looks possible in the current state of things.

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