Jan Molby

Tottenham aren’t capable of replacing Gareth Bale

Jan Molby

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There is an argument that by selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and reinvesting the funds, Spurs could become a more balanced side with better quality over the pitch.

However, they will face the same problem as Liverpool should they sell Luis Suarez: while the club might be able to afford a £30m player, can they squeeze the resulting weekly wages into their budget?

A player that would demand such a transfer fee might want £200,000 a week – can Spurs afford wages on that lrvel, given they aren’t in the Champions League? I am doubtful. Players on the top shelf will want the biggest wages and Spurs aren’t in a position to pay top dollar, even if they could afford the initial transfer outlay.

Moreover, Spurs aren’t in the Champions League next season which will impact on their chances of signing a player who is anywhere near the quality of Bale.

There is talk that Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria might be used in a swap deal but although the former might be a realistic option, I’m not sure about the latter. Di Maria might see himself at a bigger club like Paris Saint-Germain or AC Milan.

Spurs should also ignore the lure of player exchanges. These deals rarely come off and they would be better off focusing on their existing targets.

But there will come a time – if a bid reaches £100m in cash for instance – where the chance to improve their squad to such a significant degree might become overwhelmingly tempting, even if their top targets might be unattainable.

Losing a star player doesn’t always mean a downturn in performance either. Some people predicted doom and gloom for Manchester United after they sold Ronaldo but they’ve done okay, haven’t they? They have continued to win trophies.

At some stage Spurs might have to let Bale go, even if they reportedly turned down a world record offer at the weekend.

Were they right to do so? Possibly. Maybe Madrid had some encouragement from the player’s camp and were told to test the water with a bid, but I think Bale himself is quite prepared for all eventualities.

He would be quite content to stay for another year and score more goals for Tottenham Hotspur - the fact that the club turned down the bid won’t bother him too greatly. For the time being he is happy in North London.

I don’t think he will be pushing to go. He will be saying: ‘It’s out of my hands. If the two clubs agree a deal then I will look at it but I am happy at White Hart Lane’.

Tottenham are renowned for playing hard ball when selling on their star names – just look at the moment they extracted for the likes of Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov. But this is a tricky one to gauge.

There is obviously a breaking point – at some point Tottenham will say yes. Is Madrid’s offer just an opening salvo or is it a one-off, take-it-or-leave-it offer like their £80m fax for Cristiano Ronaldo?

When, for example, Arsenal bid £30m for Suarez, you knew that was a negotiating position and they would return with an improved offer; I don’t know whether that is the case with Real Madrid.

What is certain is that when Madrid want a player, like Ronaldo, they get it done. With their huge resources they never struggle to raise the necessary funds: in fact they have broken the transfer record on the past four occasions to sign Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka and Ronaldo.

Now they are talking £82m for Bale, or £51m plus Coentrao and Di Maria, which would break the record once again. It seems as though they take pride in setting those new marks and underlining their financial supremacy in the world game. It’s the way they operate.

Real Madrid is a flash football club; at Barcelona it is completely different. It’s all about style in the capital, and Bale would be another status symbol.

In one corner you have a club who are known for getting their own way, and in the other Daniel Levy: football’s toughest negotiator. It could be quite the battle of wills.

Presumably the two clubs have some degree of rapport having done the Luka Modric transfer 12 months ago and Real Madrid wouldn’t waste this much time and effort if there isn’t the possibility of a deal being done.

They must have some hope.

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