I lurch between morning despair and evening hope. Yesterday Bale disappeared from the ads on the THFC website. This evening he is back….what does that mean?
But, to be honest it almost seems inevitable at this point Spurs are going to sell Bale for a ridiculous amount of money to those arrogant wankers Real Madrid. Like the borg, resistance is futile, so best make the most out of it. Last count was 100 million pounds. Everyone keeps saying you would be dumb to turn down such money. And when it comes to finance, Daniel Levy isn’t dumb.
But what does it say about Spurs and their ambition and the way they look at themselves. While I am sure the money would fuel the purchase of a couple of top notch replacements, it is very depressing and soul destroying to think that spurs are going to jack it all in in.
For the first time in a number of years, the premiership is open. Chelsea has a great new (sort of) manager in Mourinho and some young talent in Mata, Hazard and Oscar but also a lot of old talent on their last legs. Can Moyes do what Ferguson did year in and year out – take ordinary teams and make them winners. Arsenal has not improved its team and Wenger has for years managed to get his team to play better than the sum of its parts, although not well enough to win anything. How many more years can he keep that up? And who knows about the gong show at Manchester City? Are they going to be the team to beat or just a dysfunctional bunch of whingers again? And Everton and Liverpool are in rebuilding phases. For the most part, this summer, most English teams have remained fairly unchanged with the exception Spurs.
So Spurs, with Gareth Bale and the fifty million dollars of talent they have brought in this summer, are definite contenders for the first time in years. So, why would you sell Bale now? Why is it so hard to make the case to him and the fans that Spurs have been building to get to the point where they can start to win things and really become a force both in England and in the Champions League. They have the players for the most part and the coach to do it now. This is what all that investment was for. So why, at the very cusp of achieving your goals, would you cave and sell what appears to be the lynchpin of the project.
When Spurs sell Bale, they will bring in a couple of other good players, but then Spurs have just become Arsenal. Good squad, good enough for fourth maybe. But bereft of that thing that would make them exciting, different, interesting, glorious.
It is sort of like ice hockey’s Sydney Crosby, probably the best player in the world currently. He plays in the unsexy market of Pittsburgh. And before anyone gets huffy, I live in Winnipeg so I know the feeling. He could probably make more in Toronto or Chicago or New York. He’d probably prefer to live in San Jose or Los Angeles. But he plays for the Penguins. And in return they have built a team around him and with him they are contenders. They could trade him and probably get in four or five good solid players in return. Sort of like when Edmonton traded Gretzky. But Edmonton was never the same. They won one more cup more out of spite than anything else and then faded into mediocrity. Pittsburgh could probably remain a solid team but so what. Who wants solid?
When Crosby was injured last year, Pittsburgh was somewhere south of ordinary. The Penguins know that Crosby adds something intangible to the team. He makes everyone else play better. He can score or set up that vital goal exactly when you need it. He puts Pittsburgh on the hockey map. Crosby sells shirts, and fills up other arenas because people come to see him play. You, as a neutral, actually want to watch Pittsburgh in the playoffs. These are things that are intangible and above dollars and cents.
I can see why you would take the hundred million for Bale. From a business point of view, how could you not? Although, what do you lose in merchandising? Bale is a world star now and think about what that does for your brand. If you sell him, the price of any replacement just doubled because everyone knows you are flush with cash. If, like last year, selling your best player means you fall short of champions league football, that alone is worth about 20 millions. So if you lose gate receipts because fewer people want to come and see you, if you lose a bunch of shirt sales, if you have to pay bigger fees for replacements and you lose out on champions league, that 100 million doesn’t look quite so attractive any more. So maybe from a business stand point maybe you could turn the offer down.
And from a purely footballing one, why wouldn’t you?