Pitchside Europe

The luxury XI that costs less than one Gareth Bale

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Real Madrid’s willingness to smash the world transfer record to sign Gareth Bale has been football’s biggest talking point this week with reports indicating the Spanish giants are prepared to spend as much as 100 million euros to recruit him from Tottenham.

Spending such a vast amount - which works out as £87.3 million in British money – has led to debates over football’s inflationary transfer market and the true value of the Wales winger, who admittedly had a stunning season for Spurs in 2012-13.

Bale might be the reigning PFA Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year and Footballer of the Year, but is he worth £87.3m? Is any player worth quite that much, Lionel Messi aside?

To put Bale’s eye-watering valuation into perspective, we have pieced together a theoretical XI comprising other players who have moved clubs this summer, with the team’s total value coming in at just under what Madrid are apparently willing to pay for the Spurs star.

In goal is highly-rated World Cup finalist and Netherlands international Maarten Stekelenburg, who moved from Roma to Fulham for a cut-price fee of £4.8m.

Stekelenburg is protected by three defenders who boast plenty of experience. Portugal international Bruno Alves joined Fenerbahce from Zenit St Petersburg for £4.8m, Liverpool bagged Kolo Toure on a free from Manchester City and Felipe Santana swapped Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund for Schalke for just £800,000.

We spent a bit more in midfield, with Thiago, Bayern Munich’s £21.8m recruit from Barcelona, and Jesus Navas, a £17.5m signing from Sevilla for Manchester City, comfortably fitting inside budget to bring some Spanish international class to the wide positions.

Patrolling the centre is another Spain international in Benat, who joined Athletic Bilbao from Real Betis for £6.9m, as well as another France international Jeremy Toulalan, who moved from Malaga to Monaco for £4.4m.

However, it is in attack that our team really excels. David Villa was arguably the signing of the summer when joining Atletico Madrid from Barcelona for £4.4m, Mario Gomez cost Fiorentina £13.5m when moving from Bayern and Carlos Tevez set Juventus back just £7.8m.

That makes a grand total of £86.7 million.

So, would you rather have one Gareth Bale, or this team of classy international stars?

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