By Callum McCarthy
A young, Welsh left winger with electrifying pace, sublime trickery, a pinpoint cross and a sickly sweet left foot is ruining the reputation of every defender put in front him.
I think we’ve been here before.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale has been nothing short of a revelation this season. The Welshman’s second half hat-trick against Inter was the difference between humiliation and pride for Spurs, who allowed four goals in the first half against a Nerazzurri side that had looked a cut above the Champions League newbies. Making light work of some of the world’s best defenders, Bale brought Spurs to brink of one of the greatest European comebacks in history on Wednesday night, as Spurs fell one goal short of an invaluable point at the San Siro.
In some ways fans, teammates and backroom staff alike owe him for saving their team’s bacon in their first real taste of a bigtime Champions League tie. However the aftermath of his magnificence may temper Spurs fans’ enthusiasm, as Bale’s “under the radar” abilities that tore Werder Bremen and FC Twente to shreds were announced to the world.
Speculation of Bale’s imminent departure has risen from a background level to headline news in the space of three days, with many major British media outlets hinting that the 21 year old won’t be in a Spurs shirt for much longer. Inter, Real Madrid, Barcelona and every other team in Europe with the ability to give Daniel Levy a blank cheque are all rumoured to be preparing offers for the Welshman, but Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is having none of it, insisting Bale will stay put.
In an interview with The Guardian, Redknapp said,
“Tottenham is a club that is looking to progress, not to sell its best players, selling him would send out the wrong signals. It would make us a selling club. We have to build a team around him and if Tottenham can progress to become a regular Champions League team, he would be a big part of that.”
While Bale has yet to comment on his future with Spurs, his even temperament and positive attitude might provide fans with the hope that his ambitions can be satisfied by a team who, as yet, haven’t hit their stride in domestic competition this season. Despite him being personally outstanding, Spurs have dropped two or more points against Stoke, West Brom, Wigan and Everton so far this season, missing their opportunity to capitalise on a relatively kind opening salvo of fixtures.
Although there are few signs that Bale has outgrown his surroundings in North London, should he have to continue carrying his team on a bi-weekly basis, dreams of sunny Spain and stardom could cloud the vision of European football’s latest phenom.
For Harry Redknapp, the battle starts now.