Off The Mark: Time for Tottenham talking to stop as post-Bale era begins

Gareth Bale of Wales waves to Real Madrid fans during his presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid

The two media circuses have left their respective cities, leaving nothing but a trail of new replica shirts and a few scattered journalists in their wake.

In Madrid and London the real work starts here, and whilst for Gareth Bale that means a trip to Villarreal and a first outing as the new plaything for the Galacticos – match fitness permitting of course – for the club he left behind things are far less clear.

There is no doubt that the manner in which Tottenham Hotspur lost their best and most crucial player this summer will be studied as a public relations masterclass in years to come.

Whereas at some clubs the painful separation between them and their star man has been the source of much navel gazing, hand wringing and feeling sorry for themselves – step forward Arsenal – Spurs instead embarked on the kind of aggressive recruitment policy normally associated with the US Army.

In snapping up a parade of new faces to look at whilst Bale inched towards the exit door, Spurs – or more specifically their impressive new Technical Director Franco Baldini – might just have played a blinder, as plenty of people have been queuing up to say in the past few weeks.

But the proof of the purchases will of course lie on the pitch, and now that the international break is over the real scrutiny of this Tottenham team can begin.

Of course bringing in Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli is a hugely impressive feat from Spurs, but following their defeat to Arsenal the questions suddenly became easy to locate.

Soldado has scored a couple of league goals so far, but he won’t keep getting presented with chances from the penalty spot, and whilst the other names listed above all possess their undoubted qualities there has to be concerns over just how they’ll adapt to life in England. Capoue is already injured, whilst the main reason that Eriksen didn’t leave Ajax sooner was due to concerns over his physical attributes.

These are perhaps needlessly alarming points on what is clearly a talented squad, but the fact that Spurs are still without a goal in open play in the Premier League this season is sure to concern Andre Villas-Boas, who will be targeting the next few matches to set that record straight.

The good news for him is that you could say that Tottenham’s four games before the next international break are pretty much perfect ones for them.

Home clashes with Norwich and West Ham will provide the opportunities for Spurs to hit the goal trail, whilst although a game at Cardiff will come with its Manchester City-sized warnings it should nonetheless be approached without fear.

Sandwiched in between those fixtures Villas-Boas welcomes his mentor Jose Mourinho to White Hart Lane, with the September 28th clash against Chelsea offering Spurs a fantastic chance to land their first major blow of the campaign after pulling their punches in the North London derby.

Maybe those new players will have settle by then, and maybe they’ll be playing the football that we’ve all been told they’re capable of.

The hope has to be that they will as Bale will be even longer gone by then. The distraction of the Welshman’s world record move will no longer act as a masking agent.

Just what Tottenham can achieve this season remains to be seen, and has so much to do with just how quickly this new team can gel.

In many ways their campaign starts here, or at least at home to Norwich on Saturday.

A time when actions will have to speak louder than so, so many words have done.

William Hill Sports

Window winners Everton should be allowed Lukaku

Away from Mesut Ozil’s arrival at Arsenal the real winners of transfer deadline day were surely Everton, who managed to bring in three new players and extract more money than even they would have been expecting from Manchester United for Marouane Fellaini.

The key and most surprising Blues arrival was surely the forward Romelu Lukaku, who Jose Mourinho has let go on a second successive season-long loan from Chelsea following the arrival of Samuel Eto’o.

The Belgian will undoubtedly be a terrific signing for Roberto Martinez, but his debut will have to be put on hold as Everton face his parent club at Goodison Park this weekend.

By sending him out on loan to Merseyside, Chelsea have let loose a raging bull who possesses the ability to upset plenty of their rivals for both the Premier League title and a spot in the Champions League, whilst all the time being unable to play against them.

As far as they are concerned it looks a win-win situation, but is it fair? It appears to be another rule which benefits those clubs who stockpile top talent, and the game already seems weighted towards them as it is.

William Hill Sports


The foot of this week’s column has been set aside for an appraisal of all the expansive, pleasing on the eye football that England played under manager Roy Hodgson on Tuesday night.

See you next week.



Posted on 11 Sep 2013, in Off the Mark and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. the lukaku thing isn’t about the news he signed for everton. He’s saying he should be allowed to play against chelsea.

  2. agree mostly with your analysis,
    but not the headline
    because the content of your piece is in contradiction to it.
    youve made one or two fairly obvious and weak points, in accordance with most modern football Internet journalism.
    and all this on the headline of Gareth bale, without it would anyone bother to click?
    your problem is where next?

    • thanks for your comment.

      I think the title is perfectly apt given the content.

      In terms of where next, our GW4 Preview is online tomorrow 😉

      Site is always open for Guest Posts if you feel you have something to offer?

    • Maybe the headline is about gareth bale because the piece is about gareth bale?!

      Enjoyed it.

      • more the “Time for Tottenham talking to stop ” i was referring to, your not a spurs supporter but you are easily pleased. all the points made are about ten days out of date, re arsenal game. lukaku to everton. no courage in the analysts or forsight. the future is nor rosy

      • Hi Chris,

        Thanks for taking the time to critique the article,

        Can’t please everyone I guess?

        Personally speaking, as a small blog I think we are doing fine and I have no concerns on the future.

        Again, floor is open for guest posts?



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