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Despite Current Form, Gareth Bale Must Resist Temptation To Move Abroad This Summer

Christopher Coppock |
February 17, 2013 | 11:30 a.m. PST

Staff Writer

Bale has been a one-man wrecking crew for Spurs this season. (Jan S0L0/Creative Commons)
Bale has been a one-man wrecking crew for Spurs this season. (Jan S0L0/Creative Commons)
As the clock ticked through the 92nd minute and a packed crowd in the Stade Gerland looked on, Gareth Bale stepped up and brilliantly bent the ball with his left foot over a packed wall and past the hapless Rémy Vercoutre to give Tottenham a 2-1 win over Lyon on a rainy night in southern France. As he celebrated with his teammates, the winger basked in his continued strong run of form, currently seemingly unable to miss. For the past few months, Bale has been nearly unstoppable. As long as the ex-Southampton man continues to torment defenses across England and Europe, the interest the world's biggest clubs have in him will continue to grow.

During the January transfer window, rumors abounded that Bale was going to leave Spurs, most likely bound for the behemoth that is Real Madrid. Journalists waxed poetics about the possibility of Bale playing left back, overlapping the great Cristiano Ronaldo as they both stormed down the flank, leaving outside backs in their wake.

In theory, such a pairing would almost certainly be a deadly one. The combination of pace, creativity, and finishing ability they both possess could give the Capital club the very best left side in Europe. Following Tottenham manager André Villas-Boas' declaration in a press conference that the Welshman would be going nowhere, however, speculation dropped off for the remainder of the transfer window. Given Bale's continued excellence on the field, though, the North London club is bound to receive inquires from across Europe once again this summer, and Bale will no doubt be enticed by any offers from the world's biggest sides.

Despite all this, Bale should, for the time being at least, remain at Spurs.

At just 23 years old, his development, both technically and mentally, has not been completed, and he would be best served by remaining in London for a few more years. Though Bale is currently one of the top players in the English league, he has a tendency to be streaky, having gone on an impressive run of form last year, only to drop off and become a non-factor at the end of the campaign. In addition, the chance that Bale, at this young age, could be a flop is a major risk for a team to take if they are to meet Spurs' 55 million dollar valuation of him.

Perhaps the best example of this hazard is his old teammate Luka Modrić. After a brilliant year in the Premier League last year, the Croatian moved to Real Madrid over the summer for a fee of 45 million dollars. With such a high price tag came astronomical expectations, expectations that the ex-Tottenham man has totally failed to meet. Struggling to gain playing behind an on-fire Mesut Özil, Modrić has had little chance to make an impact. When he has played, he has looked off the pace and sluggish, seemingly bewildered by the technicality and quickness of the Spanish game.

Bale's expressed desire is to play in the Champions League. With Tottenham currently sitting comfortably in forth, nipping at the heals of a faltering Chelsea in third, the chances that Spurs will qualify for the Champions League are good. If Spurs do finish in the top-four, and Bale decides to stay on, he would certainly be the leading man next season in a Champions League side that definitely has potential. That being said, their chances of winning the competition with teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund looking as unstoppable as ever would, admittedly, not be high.

The choice then, as it always should be, is Bale's. Does he want to play for the Real Madrid's and Bayern Munich's of this world, teams destined to be competitive for years to come, but in doing so risk his being stuck on the bench or fulfilling a minor role? Or would he prefer to stay at Tottenham, and guide a Spurs side that though it may not win, would certainly be able to give any team a serious run for it's money?

One day soon, Gareth Bale will be ready to join the elite of the elites. For his own sake, however, and indeed for the sake of millions of fans who enjoy watching his trickery and ingenuity on a weekly basis, one should hope that he remains in London for a year or two more. What a story would it be, after all, were Bale to guide Spurs to the pinnacle of European glory, laying waste to the giants who have so desperately tried to lure him from White Hart Lane along the way.

Contact staff reporter Christopher Coppock here, or follow him on twitter here.



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