This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
With the transfer window just around the corner, Real Madrid have been linked to some of the biggest names in world football as per usual, including Manchester United talisman Paul Pogba and Eduardo Camavinga, which will probably ruffle a few feathers in the Galacticos camp.
Despite recent reports, former Tottenham starlet Gareth Bale is likely to finish his career at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett. The famous stadium is a far cry away from St Mary’s Stadium, where the young Welshman first made a name for himself.
Unsurprisingly, his performances with the South Coast side attracted the attention of a number of major European clubs, including the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
The Lilywhites boss Daniel Levy got there first, and the Welsh youngster moved to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2007 for a fee of up to £10m (Reuters). Over 10 years later, it is fair to say signing Bale is arguably the best decision the chairman has ever made.
Even so, things got off to a rocky start, as he was still used as a full-back at the beginning of his Spurs career. He even suffered the embarrassment of going 24 games without a win.
Nevertheless, he remained defiant in the face of further setbacks, as a foot injury restricted him to just 12 appearances in the 2007/08 season, and he lost his place in the starting lineup to Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
However, this prompted Harry Redknapp to make arguably the boldest move of his career, which in turn would transform Bale into one of the best players in the world.
The manager at the time deployed the Welshman on the wing, and the move almost paid off right from the start, as he won his first league game with the Lilywhites against Burnley soon after. Redknapp’s side went on to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.
Bale would go on to write his name into the history books in his debut season in the European competition. He struck a stunning hat-trick away to Inter Milan in a 4-3 defeat before producing another outstanding display in the second leg at home.
Redknapp famously told the media after the game “he’s got everything. He’s got great ability. It’s not just his pace, he can run all day, and keep running. He’s got the ability to cross, his left foot is great on the run, he can shoot, dribble, head it, he’s got everything.”
Remarkably, the Welsh international would surpass his heroics against the Italians in his gold season of 2012/13.
This was a period of time where he was practically unplayable.
Under the guidance of new manager Andre Villas-Boas, Bale reinvented himself again in an infield role behind the striker. He ended up scoring 26 goals in 44 games for the Portuguese boss in all competitions (Transfermarkt).
Naturally, his heroics in front of the West Stand crowd would come at a heavy cost, as Real Madrid soon came calling. Florentino Perez broke the world transfer record at the time to sign the Spurs star, as Bale sealed an £85.3m move which eclipsed the £80m Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
With the benefit of hindsight, Bale’s arrival turned out to be the best decision Levy has ever made, as Spurs managed to get more than six years of football out of the Welshman in which time he scored 56 goals and provided 58 assists, until the board sold him for a massive profit.
Tottenham fans, do you think Gareth Bale has been Daniel Levy’s best signing so far? Let us know down below!
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