On the 19th of September last year, the word got out and the papers were signed. Tottenham Hotspur announced Gareth Bale, the prodigal son had returned.
It had been seven long years since Bale had left Spurs but, the player who returned was not the same one who left. Older, wiser, and with four Champions League winners medals to boot.
However, after Bale was quoted recently as saying “My plan is to go back, that’s as far as I’ve planned”. The question is now here, should Spurs try harder to keep Bale at the club?
Bale – Brilliant or Bad?
When Bale returned to Tottenham, expectations were naturally high. He left as the most expensive player in the world and returned having won it all in the Spanish game.
However, now Bale is back in London he has had to readapt to the English game, something he has noticeably struggled with. In the Premier League, he has managed to start just six of Spurs twenty-nine games this season.
The Welsh international is clearly not considered a reliable starter for Tottenham, but instead a squad player for the cup competitions. This is perhaps a little unfair, as Bale boasts the best scoring frequency of any Spurs player in the Prem this season.
On the other hand, Bale has gone without scoring in nine of his twelve games in the league. The once two-time PFA player of the year now seems more akin to a purple-patch specialist.
In the cup’s Bale has been a regular member of the Tottenham squad, appearing in all ten of their Europa League games. Bale also appeared in all but one of the sides FA Cup matches and looks set to be a part of their EFL Cup final squad.
For Bale, the issue is clear even when a part of the team he fails to see out the full game. In the Europa League, he played just fifty-seven minutes a game, and in the Prem, this is even lower at forty-seven. For a side expected to push on, Bale simply cannot be trusted as a frequent starter.
But Should He Stay?
Admittedly, despite the flaws and Bale’s quotes, there is a chance we see him at The Lilywhites next season. Bale is a star, and with Spurs severely lacking in that capacity past a few names, they could do far worse than keeping Bale.
Despite this though, Bale has not offered a huge level of improvement on his competitor Lucas Moura. Consistency has been Bale’s biggest issue this season something that was often the case in Madrid.
With Spurs reportedly paying half of his £600,000 a week wages, maybe it’s time for this fairytale to end.