The Bale Effect

by Elijah Osagie

Is Bale the Addition That Tottenham Needs to Raise Their First Trophy Since 2008?

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With innumerable transfers made over the summer, soccer’s transfer market has been a frenzy. Players have left their teams to take on new challenges in one of the most competitive leagues in the world: the Premier League. An astounding amount of great players have also left their teams in La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and Bundesliga to face competition in larger, better, and more unfamiliar leagues. However, a loanee to the Premier League, Gareth Bale, is a familiar face to his new (or former) team, Tottenham Hotspur. With one hundred and forty-six appearances, forty-two goals, twenty assists, three Player of the Month awards, and one player of the season award during his time with the Spurs, he is a club icon. Adding Gareth Bale’s skillset to Tottenham Hotspur’s already talented squad will raise the prospect of a top-four finish, if not a title in the Premier League for the club.

Following rumors about his lack of chemistry with Real Madrid club manager Zinedine Zidane and his teammates, Bale has finally been granted a loan back to his old club. Bale believed that he and Zidane had a rather cordial relationship. They were never the “best of friends”; but, Bale believed him and his manager had a professional relationship with mutual respect. However, Zinedine Zidane later revealed that he did not particularly “rate” him. He regarded Bale as too "individualistic" and not tactically sound. He also had concerns about Bale’s frequent injuries. In his last year at Madrid, Bale found himself mostly on the sideline, playing less than sixteen matches in the thirty-eight game La Liga season while starting only seven of those games. At Tottenham, Bale will be comfortable; in a recent interview, he said that the Spurs “have and will always have a special place in his heart.”

With Tottenham’s recent rap sheet—including finishing in 6th in the Premier League in the 2019-20 season and holding a respectable 6th place in the current 2020-21 season (with Gareth Bale out due to a knee injury)—Bale will add pace and finishing to the attacking core through his primary position, right-wing. Many of these recent improvements should be credited to current Spurs manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho took on the position from Mauricio Pochettino, who was dismissed from his duties as the manager of the Hotspurs due to "extremely disappointing" domestic results, according to the club’s Chairman Daniel Levy in November 2019. With Mourinho expected to revamp the Spurs program, his style-of-play should continue to propel the team into success.

Mourinho overloads the ball’s side with many options, allowing the midfielders to combine with the winger and the wingback by shifting to their side. Through Mourinho’s strategy, winger’s can either cut inside, dribble down the line and put in a cross, or play the overlapping ball to the outside-back or combine with the midfielders. With these options, Tottenham is bound to get the ball to goal or at least close enough to impose a threat. Analyzing Bale’s play at Tottenham or even his early days immediately following his transfer to Real Madrid, Bale is excellent at assessing his options and executing the most effective option with speed and precision. Gareth Bale also fits rather well within the squad, considering the blistering pace Tottenham has within their squad, including Heung-Min Son, Steven Bergwijn, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, and now, Gareth Bale. With these options for their front three, Mourinho can choose from an array of these fast and talented attackers, and combined with his effective team tactics, wreak havoc upon teams within the Premier League.

These are just a few of the many ways that Gareth Bale is a great prospect for Tottenham and will fit right back into the team (post-knee injury) with no effort at all. With good management, chemistry, and circumstances (injury, suspension, etc.), Tottenham could very well achieve a top-four finish in the league and excel in postseason competition, including the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, and even the UEFA Champions League, possibly earning their first trophy since 2008.