There still seems to be no official word from Tottenham or Real Madrid on the transfer of Gareth Bale but all signs point to a deal being imminent in the next few days. Tottenham should be getting somewhere around $125 million (£93m) plus Fabio Coentrão for their star player. Many people have expressed their opinions about the ridiculously high price so I thought I would get the input from our team here at Rotoworld as we discuss whether Real Madrid are overpaying for Bale.
It seems like the consensus is that Real Madrid are paying way too much. Many of us here at Rotoworld agree, but I (Galin) will make a case against it.
Make sure to check out Nik’s Player Picks for Week 2
At a glance, I have to agree with the people who argue Real are overpaying, especially since Bale can be injury prone and Real could really suffer if Bale can’t stay healthy, but I do have some concerns here.
The concern is that the best teams never sell their top players, no matter the price. It may seem like one player is never really worth that much, especially here, but to establish yourself as a top club, you have to overspend sometimes. If you look at the top teams in England(and in the world, including other sports), each one has a superstar. Tottenham may have gotten multiple good players, but none can compare to the quality of Bale.
Barcelona have Messi, Real have Ronaldo, Bayern Munich have Ribery, Manchester United have Robin van Persie. Paying ridiculous amounts for players like these shows you are willing to do whatever it takes to win. Good young players who are not yet superstars will likely go to a better team as the opportunity there is better, so smaller teams “miss out” on players like these or have to end up overpaying for them. Every young player wants to play for Real Madrid or Manchester United, not Tottenham. That’s because these teams have showed over the years that will do whatever it takes, no matter the price. Over time, this lets a team acquire cheap, young talent which they can develop and sell for profit, and all that adds up.
The same happens in other sports as well. After the Miami Heat spent almost all of their yearly salary on Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, critics were saying how they couldn’t afford to put decent players around them. That proved wrong as the Heat persuaded many players to come for a much lower wage than they were worth (Ray Allen came for half the wages Boston was offering). These players were willing to come because they would play alongside superstars and likely win championships. A similar thing happens in soccer, and Tottenham have failed to establish themselves as a top team.
I can see the Spurs fighting for a top four spot again, but I can’t see them fighting to win the Premier League or Champions League any time soon. You need to overpay to win, and they’re not willing to that. Being a top four team is considered a success by many fans, but in my opinion, unless you’re winning it, you’re not doing it right.
Put simply, Gareth Bale isn't worth near the money Real Madrid are reportedly willing to pay (£90million + a player) and it could work out beautifully for Tottenham. While losing Bale is a blow on first viewing, the signings of Soldado, Chadli, Paulinho and Capoue plus the possible additions of Willian and Coentrao for roughly the same amount as the club are selling Bale for would be quite phenomenal business by Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini. The club would find themselves in a much stronger position thanks to the sale, and nobody though that would be possible when these rumours started back in May.
I agree with Nik with a slightly different slant related to Spurs performance vs. that of Arsenal in a similar situation with RvP last season...
Unlike Arsenal's sale of their talisman to Manchester United last season, Tottenham are selling at a big enough premium that it puts them in a position to buy replacements. They haven't purchased a direct replacement as that would be nearly impossible given what Bale provided last season. What they have done is strengthen the squad all over the park so they aren't as beholden to the superhuman exploits of one player. In securing Soldado and Paulinho especially is proof that they can identify and close deals for top players who are improving or in their prime despite their lack of participation in this season's Champions League. In the same position last season, Arsenal purchased Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud which is reflective of one or more of the following failures: 1) having received fewer dollars for van Persie; 2) identifying targets that were unattainable due to a disinterest in coming to Arsenal or not being for sale; 3) an apparent unwillingness to pay market prices for top level young talent that will be with the club for years to come or be sold on for profits later; and 4) a failure at the executive level to close deals.
I agree with my esteemed colleagues, with one caveat:
Sometimes you need that player who can turn a match in an instant. Be it with a run, a shot, a pass... a player that can turn one point into three by their sheer individual brilliance. Bale proved himself to be that kind of player last season, and that's why he's worth what he's worth - even if it isn't what Real are willing to pay. It remains to be seen if Willian, Soldado, Chadli, etc, can bring that kind of magic to the table.
At the end of the day, I think Tottenham are making a good decision for an “average” or “good” team, a decision almost any other team will come to. I believe that if they want to eventually establish themselves as the best team in England, they have to keep Bale, but that seems unlikely and we just have to wait and see exactly how good they can be without him. As for Real Madrid, they have the money and they have a reputation of always getting the best talent, so they will likely continue being one of the best teams in Europe for years to come.
What do you think? Is Gareth Bale overpriced or he worth what Real are paying?