‘We’ll start the bidding at €60 million’. When the inevitable time comes for Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to say his goodbyes to Gareth Bale the pound signs will undoubtedly glaze over his eyes as he looks to squeeze as much cash as is humanly possible from the sale of his prized asset.
Indeed Bale, regarded by many as one of Europe’s most exciting and potent wingers, is ready to tell the north London club that he wants to join Real Madrid, with Barcelona set to go head-to-head with their La Liga rivals to secure the Welshman’s signature.
But is the former Southampton star really ready for the dizzying heights of representing either Madrid or Barca? Does he possess the ability to mix it with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta? Is he worth anywhere near the €60m Levy will be desperate to generate from any potential sale?
Goal.com called on the opinions of various experts and supporters from home and abroad to get their views on Spurs’ effervescent No.11.
|THE VIEW FROM THE EXPERT
‘MADRID WOULD LOVE TO BEAT BARCA TO BALE’
Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Expert
Barcelona were heavily linked with Bale before signing Jordi Alba from Valencia in the summer, but the Catalans were loathe to blow all of their summer budget on one player and the Welshman signed a new deal at Tottenham, in any case.
Alba has slotted in seamlessly for Barca, having come through the youth system at La Masia, and Tito Vilanova is happy with his options at left-back, so it is hard to see how Bale would fit in now at Camp Nou. He could potentially play further forward but, like Alexis Sanchez on the right, would find his ability to attack from deep restricted by Barca’s possession game.
Barca fans were keen on Bale, but not for €40m (£32m), and are happy to have snapped up Alba for a relatively reasonable €14m (£11m).
In Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, Madrid, have wonderful options in the two positions Bale could occupy. That did not stop Jose Mourinho bringing in Fabio Coentrao for €30m (£24m), however, and the Portuguese is keen to keep buying the best as he looks to build a side capable of challenging at home and abroad for the next four years.
Bale is one of those and most Madrid fans would like to see the Tottenham winger at the Bernabeu – especially if they can beat Barca to his signature.
|THE VIEW FROM MADRID FANS
‘DON’T PAY MORE THAN £20M!’
|‘BALE COULD BE A GOOD MATCH’
|THE VIEW FROM THE BARCA FAN
Bale is a very good player, one of the best wingers in Europe right now. I think he would fit in better at Barcelona, because Real Madrid already have two decent left-backs, Marcelo and Coentrao.
Barcelona only have Jordi Alba, and Bale could be a good match for the left wing position. I know he is highly valued by Tottenham, but if I was the Barcelona manager, I would not pay more than €25-30m (£24m). Especially when considering the club paid around €14m (£11m) for Jordi Alba.
Bale is a very good player, it definitely seems logical that everybody, fans, the media and even clubs themselves, talk so much about him. He is a very good player, who could perfectly play for both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
If I were the president, I would pay about €20-25m (£16-20m). Real Madrid already have very good players on that left wing with Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao. If Madrid were to sign Bale, he should play as a left-back but, as mentioned earlier, with all the players they have in that position, the club should not pay more than €25m (£20m) for him.
Real Madrid do not need Gareth Bale at the present time. If they do not sell any of the players they already have in the wing positions, I do not know why they would feel the need to sign Bale, even though he has said he wants to come to Madrid.
|THE VIEW FROM THE TOTTENHAM FAN
‘THE BEST PLACE FOR BALE IS WHITE HART LANE’
It is fair to say that Tottenham’s Gareth Bale is one of the most naturally gifted wingers in the game. When in a marauding mood, the Welshman can be devastating when attacking the opposition full-back – Manchester City’s Maicon only knows too well of his capabilities.
In that case, it comes as no surprise to see La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid linked with a possible big money move for the Welshman. While Spurs may have tied him down to a new four-year deal over the summer, the speculation surrounding a possible switch is unlikely to desist, especially given the fact that Bale himself admitted he would like to play abroad one day.
Following the respective departures of Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart, it can be argued that the wideman is possibly the north London side’s most prized asset. With the club demanding anything upwards of £40m for his signature, it only strengthens the cause.
But is he ready for a big money move to Spain? The answer, at present, is a no. While Bale shows the potential to become a world beater, the fact is that he often shys away from certain encounters and when he does, it is regularly an impossible task to bring out the best of the former Southampton star.
On top of that, his continuous attempts at portraying Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo, and ultimately failing, goes to show his inexperience and ability that is still a level below the world’s most expensive footballer.
That is not to say that Spurs would not miss Bale if he was sold – far from it in fact. A player of his calibre would improve any team, regardless of the standard of his possible team-mates. It is all but inevitable that the north London side will eventually ship on the Welshman, and for a hefty profit I might add. But at present, the best place for him is White Hart Lane, until the summer at least.