With the unveiling of their new home kit in Times Square, New York this month in association with NBC's coverage of The Barclay's Premier League many Tottenham Hotspur fans may be fooled into believing that the club has finally made the jump from a middle of the road side to a genuine global brand in the world of football. However, take a second look and you see the real reason for the clubs appearance on one of the most prominent advertising spaces in the world; none other than the double PFA and FWA player of the season for 2012/2013; Gareth Bale.
In the last two to three years Bale has become a genuine force in European football. Two unforgettable performances against Inter Milan in 2010 in which he single handedly destroyed the reputation of one of the most highly rated right backs in the world let the rest of the footballing community into a secret that many Spurs fans had known for some time. However, since reaching the quarter finals of the Champions League and Bale winning the PFA player's player of the year award for the first time in the very same season, Tottenham have been unable to move forward as a club and stake a genuine claim as a regular contender for not just a Champions League place but challenge for the league itself. Even with Bale's multi award winning season in which he scored 26 goals in all competitions, Spurs still came up short of that all-important 4th placed finish. Therefore, as a Tottenham fan there comes a point where the question of Gareth Bales future must be addressed. Should Bale be allowed to leave in search of silverware at one of Europe's elite clubs with Spurs commanding a large fee? Or, should Bale stay and become the star of an ever growing, ambitious football club with a potentially bright future?
There is an obvious allure as to why Bale could choose to leave Tottenham Hotspur For Real Madrid this summer. Worldwide recognition, the opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, countless endorsements deals, monetary incentives and of course the chance to play on the biggest stages, with some of the greatest players in the world whilst consistently challenging for European footballs top honors. Unfortunately for Bale, it is unlikely that Wales will qualify for a major tournament, even with his obvious influence and their best squad of recent times. Therefore, Bale will have to fulfill his dreams of footballing success through his club career. However, in the past 22 years Spurs have won just one FA and two league cups. When Spurs won the league cup in 2008 whilst Bale was part of the club, he played no part due to injury. Moving to a club such as Real Madrid would give Bale the chance to test himself on the aforementioned greatest stages on a regular basis and potentially become one of the best players in the world in years to come. However, risking the obvious cliché, "the grass isn't always greener on the other side".
Last summer, Luka Modric was embroiled in a similar transfer saga that eventually saw him move to Real Madrid. What did Spurs get, £33million and a partnership agreement that no doubt paves the way for any future purchase of Tottenham players. In a similar fashion to Bale, Modric was courted for well over a year before Madrid finally got their man. Once he arrived, Modric endured an extremely average first season, struggling to break into the first team and even being voted as the worst signing by poll in the Spanish media outlet Marca. Should Bale leave, he will be in direct competition with Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria. Any sign of weakness, injury or poor performance and Bale will be forced down the pecking order in a similar fashion to Modric, who himself must now compete not only with Mezut Ozil but the newly arriving Isco and Illaramendi. Clearly, clubs that are seemingly forever moving forward, have no problem in leaving you behind should you not be up to the challenge.
At Tottenham, Daniel Levy and Andre Villas Boas are trying to build something special but within their means. A newly built training facility, a new stadium on the way and recent high profile signings of players such as Hugo Lloris, Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado are all evidence of the desire of the football club. However, although selling Gareth Bale may give Spurs the money to continually buy more players of this ilk such as Soldado, a club should always look to hold on to their greatest assets. In my opinion, should Gareth Bale publicly state his desire to leave the club then so be it. Sell the player to the highest bidder and create a more rounded side with the fee. Too often last season the team looked to Bale for a moment of magic (with him supplying on numerous occasions). Even this week, Spurs left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto described Bale as a "superhero". If the football club is to move forward, it cannot rely on one player to create success, and if the sale of Gareth Bale were to fund such a change then I would fully support the decision. If Tottenham can also receive one or two quality signings in addition to a transfer fee such as Fabio Coentrao or Angel Di Maria, then I would be even further in favour of the decision.
At Tottenham, Bale is the first name on the team sheet, with the team built around him and the idea to give him the ball as much as possible in the best positions in order to cause as many problems to the opposition as he can. If Bale were to leave, such opportunities could be much harder to come by. Although, who is to say he would not grasp the opportunity with both hands? One thing is for certain, if Bale were to leave Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid this summer, it wouldn't be his face adorning a billboard in New York City promoting La Liga for next season in their famous white strip. With no points for guessing which Portuguese winger would take his place.