Jan Molby

Soldado is exactly what Spurs were missing

Jan Molby

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Regardless of Gareth Bale's future, I think Roberto Soldado would have been the type of player Tottenham would have been looking to sign.

He fits multiple requirements for the club. They would have needed to make signings of this magnitude in order to convince Bale to stay, and in football terms it's the area of the pitch they were lacking in last season.

The centre-forward position was their downfall last season – Bale single-handedly bailed them out a dozen times, and to challenge at that level you cannot be so over-reliant on a winger.

Clubs who have had a player of Bale's stature in that position have also had top-class strikers champing at the bit around him, as we saw with Barcelona and David Villa (and now Neymar), plus Real Madrid and Karim Benzema (plus the departed Gonzalo Higuain).

The strikers Spurs had just aren't up to leading the line for a side challenging for the Champions League. Emmanuel Adebayor has his strength, but he often operates in the areas outside where a traditional centre-forward works; he is also inconsistent, as is Jermain Defoe, who is limited to a specific role and has his injury problems.

Soldado is a traditional centre-forward, who plays where you want your striker to play – in an advanced role in the penalty box. How often did Spurs' build-up play merit a finish that just wasn't there, because the striker wasn't there? Soldado fills that void, and he fills it brilliantly – he is a born goal-scorer.

He is also phenomenally consistent. Since joining Getafe five years ago, he has scored 13, 20, 25, 27 and 30 goals in the seasons that followed.

That is a year-on-year improvement, despite Valencia's financial struggles - a sign of a focused, determined player who is always looking to improve.

Soldado is simply a brilliant signing for them.

So much of the football media has been dominated by the news that Real Madrid - who let Soldado go earlier in his career - are looking to break the world transfer record for Bale.

It’s breaking new ground with a bid of that size, and by that I don’t just mean the extra £5m they may have to pay relative to Cristiano Ronaldo.

It's new ground because it's the first time in many years that a player who hasn't been at one of the world's biggest clubs would go for a record transfer fee. When Ronaldo went, he was at Manchester United and already a global superstar; ditto Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane when they joined Real Madrid from Barcelona and Juventus.

They were already used to dealing with that pressure, they had already won titles, they could already handle the spotlight.

Bale has not had to deal with that pressure, that intensity of expectation. He barely speaks to the media, and when he does is quiet, considered. You get the impression he does not like the spotlight, and at Spurs he has barely had to deal with it.

A couple of years ago when Ronaldo joined Madrid, we were saying no footballer was worth £80m, but from a commercial point of view he has more than justified that fee. In football terms, perhaps not, but that is why they sign Galacticos.

Is Bale a Galactico? He certainly seems less so from a commercial standpoint. Another thing that worries me is how such a move would affect him.

This would make him one of the most recognisable footballers in the world, overnight. And to deal with that you have to have a certain type of personality.

At a club like Manchester United you had Sir Alex Ferguson protecting you 24-7, but at Real you're on your own. It will be a whole different ball game for Bale.

Previous big-money stars were already world famous, already known to have the personality. Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo… they were all superstars when they went and we knew they could handle it.

Bale hardly speaks as it is so we don't feel he likes the limelight. But at Real you have to do all the extra media work, the spotlight is much more intense, and the expectation for such a player is to have a winning impact on every match.

I don't think that Bale arriving at Real would necessarily mean Ronaldo leaves; I think there is room for both Ronaldo and Bale in that team. Bale will not want Ronaldo's space, on and off the field; also, there are a number of positions you can play both players in.

Bale could even play as a left wing-back, although realistically he would play on the left side of the attack and Ronaldo more centrally.

It decreases Real’s utter reliance on Ronaldo too – it's always him winning the big games, always him they look to. It would make them fearsome both in the weaker domestic Spanish league, and in Europe, where marking Ronaldo out of a knockout game pretty much guarantees a result.

So football-wise it's a great move both for Bale and Real, it all depends on how the player deals with the limelight.

I wrote in my last blog that Spurs cannot 'replace' Bale, certainly not like for like. But of course they can survive without Bale – even before they get that £85m, they have proved they can sign Spain and Brazil internationals for big money.

It will be different, but they will invest the money wisely – and they already have good players, a settled squad and good manager.

I don’t think this will cause Spurs to toil to a mid-table finish. They'll be firmly in the top 6, and I think they will use the money to restructure much like Napoli have done.

Napoli sold their talisman, their match-winner. But they have brought in Higuain, Raul Albiol and Pepe Reina, plus young forward Jose Callejon. That is excellent business and, from losing the best player, they have arguably come out stronger overall.

I don't think Spurs will bring in one major player with the Bale money as a) they don’t have Champions League to offer the very best players, and b) the wages would break their structure.

There are plenty of very good players that would sit within their existing budget and elevate the overall quality of the squad.

Spurs have proved they are not hung-up out about age. Unlike Liverpool. Spurs are prepared to dip their toes in water for the right player regardless of age.

That blend of youth and experience will see them continue to develop and, under Andre Villas-Boas, I think the future looks bright.

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