By Manav Garg:
This 24 year old has definitely seen his bad days. From Â£5 million when he joined Spurs from Southampton in 2007, no one really expected him to be valued at somewhere close to Â£100 million in 2013. For those who never noticed this man before he hit the headlines, 18 months into his tenure at White Hart Lane, and struggling to find any sort of form at all Bale was set to be a part of a deal which would see Tottenham lure Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough.
No, I am not kidding on this one. Just about 5 years back, Bale was valued by some as — ‘Downing, minus Â£15 million.’ How some deals are never meant to be completed.
2103 — an year that the EPL would remember largely because of this young quick rising star, donning a new number 11 jersey, and bamboozling oppositions with his pace, skill and crosses. With great performances in the home league, Bale received all the three awards that any young star seeks to win in the PL – the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and the FWA (Football Writer’s Association) Player of the Year Award. The only other player to have bagged the three remains Cristiano Ronaldo, the name Bale has gotten used to competing with this transfer season — thanks to a world record fee that will almost certainly beat the amount Real Madrid paid for the Portuguese winger in 2009. But is Bale worth this hype? Where does this transfer stand in comparison to the one made in 2009? And do Real Madrid actually need Gareth Bale?
Is Bale worth a Â£100million transfer fee? In fact, is such a transfer fee justified for any transfer? Arsene Wenger for sure felt the deal was highly unfair. According to The Guardian, he was quoted as saying: “It makes a joke of the financial fair play regulations. I find it amazing that in the year the regulations come in, world football has gone completely crazy.” Fresh from a stint in Portugal, star Indian striker as well as former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, both expressed their concerns on the deal, with Fabregas unsure if the latest sensation would even fit into the Madrid style of play.
In 2009, Real Madrid signed a player who had proven himself on multiple levels. He’d been playing at the UCL level for over 3 years — with not only a Champion’s tag in 2007-08, but also the maximum number of goals in the tournament, and the award of the best forward at the tournament. Add to it – a Ballon d’or in 2008. With just one year in Europe’s elite tournament, is a world record fee for Bale not too much? A new league, with a very different game style, is Bale really up for the challenge yet? A report by The SunÂ makes a mockery of this transfer, listing an entire playing 11 in the price of Gareth Bale alone.
Bale aside, lets have a look at the Real Madrid squad for the 2013-14 season for a while now. With the incoming of Isco this summer, and the presence of options like Di Maria and Ozil, is there really a pressing need for another addition to the attacking midfield? Keeping in mind Neymar’s move to Barcelona this summer for only about Â£40million, is a Â£100million splurge really sensible? Also, with young Madrid players still waiting to move up the ranks in a team that has its bench decorated with some of the biggest footballing names, will a perspective move of Bale to Madrid strike a death blow to the aspirations of young, budding starts from their own academy? Only time will tell.