What will Tottenham do with Gareth Bale?
Gareth Bale has endured an underwhelming return to Tottenham in the 2020/21 season, making a limited impact in the Premier League. The Welshman's comeback was heralded as a coup and a move that could potentially allow the club to compete for the top-flight crown. A front three of Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Bale was a mouth-watering prospect. However, Jose Mourinho used the trio sparingly in the final third due his defensive style of play.
Bale barely featured in the Premier League under the Portuguese before Mourinho was sacked. Interim manager Ryan Mason has released the shackles on the Welshman alongside Kane and Son in the attacking third and it has yielded promising results. He notched a vital equaliser against Southampton before downing Sheffield United with a sublime hat-trick. Mourinho's decision to use the Welshman as an option off the bench more than a starter is baffling considering that Bale did produce when placed in the line-up from the off. He notched braces against in Burnley and Crystal Palace in thumping home wins. When Tottenham have played their best attacking football, Bale has been in the starting XI.
Spurs have yet to replace Mourinho and reportedly missed out on Julian Nagelsmann as he opted to join Bayern Munich. Bale's performances will give food for thought for chairman Daniel Levy about the type of manager he needs to employ to get the best out of the team on the field. Tottenham will start the next campaign as outsiders in the Premier League betting odds to win the title. Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are all deemed stronger options to triumph, but that could change if Spurs are able to fire on a regular basis in the final third.
With Bale in the line-up, they arguably have the most potent trifecta in the top flight. Kane and Son are as good as it gets with a tandem and Bale should only complement that should he be given license next term. Indeed, Tottenham still face a decision whether to retain the services of the Welshman to extend his loan from Real Madrid for another campaign. The Spanish side would prefer to sell him on a permanent basis, but whether Spurs would pursue that remains to be seen.
Bale will turn 32 before the start of next term and it would be unlike Spurs to commit those funds to a player who has passed their prime. Tottenham also have pressing needs elsewhere in a potential overhaul of their backline with Toby Alderweireld seemingly on the way out.
Bale still has undoubted ability in the Premier League, but does demand a great deal of resources that could be placed elsewhere for players on the rise. It's a risk, and Tottenham have been in the position before when they allowed Bale to leave for Madrid, failing to adequately replace the Welshman. Had they retained his services they would have had a partnership of Bale and Kane in the final third for the primes of their careers. What could they have achieved had they resisted Los Blancos?
It's going to be a vital summer for the club, who have to make precise decisions in key areas of their team. It has been their downfall in the past and they cannot afford to make the same mistakes.
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