Spurs and the Premier League simply cannot afford to let entertainer Bale leave our shores... even for 50m

By Laura Williamson

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Keep Bale in Blighty logo

We watch this game because we want to be thrilled, entertained and inspired. It is not always easy being a football fan, following your team through thick and thin (mostly thin); turning up every week to see them get another kicking.  

But we do it for those moments that leave you gasping with wonder, thinking: 'How on earth did he do that?' Gareth Bale has been that sort of player this season and you know what? He can get even better.

That's why the Premier League cannot afford to let Bale go. It is a given that Tottenham must hold onto their star attraction, a player who almost single-handedly propelled them into a Champions League spot this season, but it is important for the future of English football that he stays in this country, too.

Bale has lit up the Premier League in 2012-13. Think of those stunning long-range goals, nine of them in all, most of them worthy of a goal of the season category of their own. The pace and power he shows over a yard or two to push the ball clear of the nearest defender, before executing that short back lift and drilling it into the corner of the net. These are sensational moments to savour if you do not happen to support the team Bale has just crushed with another scintillating last-minute strike.

Welsh wizard: Gareth Bale scores a stunner against Sunderland on final day

Welsh wizard: Gareth Bale scores a stunner against Sunderland on final day

Then there is the drama of leaving it late before overpowering the opposition with the sheer force of his talent and will. Bale has not only been the first Spurs players to reach double figures in the Premier League since Jurgen Klinsmann, he has scored match-winning goals: four in the last five minutes of games since February. It has been edge-of-your seat, thrilling stuff and a privilege to watch such a phenomenal athlete excel. We have seen that heart goal celebration so often that Bale is trying to patent it.

And he can only get better. Bale has progressed from a left back to a vibrant left winger to a goal machine capable of playing in the No 10 role or as a central striker. He is still learning the position he adopted out of necessity when Tottenham were missing Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe. There is still much more to come. Against Southampton, for example, he played four attacking positions before scoring a crucial winner in the 86th minute. In the future, he will learn to dictate play more regularly and peak in games for longer periods. 

It is obvious, of course, that Tottenham must hold on to Bale. To cash in on such an exciting and talented player, at such a relatively young age, would be a disheartening acceptance of mediocrity for a club that keeps talking about its big ambitions. 

If the symbolism of selling Bale would be bad enough - not least in terms of undermining Andre Villas-Boas' position - the effect on the pitch would be catastrophic. The cash recouped from Bale's transfer could buy two or three top players, but they could never hope to replicate the stunning success the Welshman has enjoyed this season. He is the Professional Footballers' Association Player and Young Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the the Year for a reason.

The entertainer: Bale has lit up the Premier League this season

The entertainer: Bale has lit up the Premier League this season

Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur

Yet there remains the niggling question of Bale's personal ambition. The prospect of Champions League football is often used as an excuse for want-away footballers angling for a move, but playing in Europe's elite club competition has a special allure for Bale.

It was in those unforgettable games against Inter Milan in 2010 that he really announced himself on the world stage, while the competition provides an international outlet that he may never experience with Wales. It is not a World Cup or European Championship, of course, but it provides a challenge beyond the Premier League that will be denied to Bale for another season if he remains a Tottenham player.

Bale, though, remains a home bird. At the FWA dinner he spoke warmly about Spurs' plans for the future. His parents, Frank and Debbie, were there to support their son, along with Villas-Boas, who spoke without notes and wrote his own tribute in the evening's programme. The bond between the pair is clear, as shown when Bale headed straight for his manager's arms after scoring another scorcher against West Ham United.

After being given some time off by former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, Bale turned down a stay in a seven-star Dubai hotel to visit his parents in Cardiff. Even now, he still returns to Wales regularly to watch re-runs of his matches with his father, despite recently became a dad himself to his daughter AVB – Alba Violet Bale. He also has an ambassadorial contract with BT Sport to honour, and is due to start making media appearances on behalf of the channel in July.

The life of a Real Madrid star, you imagine, may not appeal, but you never know. What is beyond doubt is Bale's importance to the Premier League, a competition that cannot afford to lose him.

Key man: Manger Andre Villas-Boas must keep hold of Bale despite setback

Key man: Manger Andre Villas-Boas must keep hold of Bale despite setback

Key man: Manger Andre Villas-Boas must keep hold of Bale despite setback

 


The comments below have not been moderated.

As I support one of the other 19 Premier League clubs, what possible would I have for hoping that Spurs can hold on to their best player? If I watch a match on TV as an uninterested neutral, I want to see the best players the team can field, but from the position of a rival club, I want my team to be better than theirs. And, unlike what the sponsors and Sky would want you to believe, I support a team, not the 'Premier League' itself. And finally, who, apart from WWII pilots, refers to England as 'Blighty'??

Click to rate     Rating   4

The latest news that is filtering out of Manchester is that Rooney will definitely go and if Man u can't get Ronaldo they will definitely go for the younger Bale, who will be a steal at only 50 million, Rooney on his way to Spurs?

Click to rate     Rating   8

What a dreadful article!!! Yes he has scored some amazing goals but that doesn't make him an entertainer!!! The bloke has had a very god 7 months from about November onwards but please don't give us the hype!!! The question will be if he's only thinking of staying on an extra year then what's the point as you may as well go now and get playing CL next season. Spurs will need to buy about 6 world class players for them to keep holdof Bale or even get into the top 4 as no matter what you say the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal Man Utd and City all managed to stay up there playing badly for most of the season whilst the likes of Spurs think they have done well only just missing out on a CL place. Bale if e has any sense will move on to another team. You have to laugh at the press saying we shouldn't lose him to another league in europe. Maybe that's what's missing from our England team as hardly any players play abroad with a club and all we know is how to play the English way!!!

Click to rate     Rating   3

I hope Spurs buy some or are producing some serious talent to build a team around Gareth - we need to be ruthless both on & off the pitch.

Click to rate     Rating   7

Well DM, if you keep running hate campaigns on him for perceived 'diving', despite the fact that in every booking he has got he has been clipped at high speed, then don't be surprised if he decides that he doesn't want to face your ridiculous abuse and moves elsewhere.

Click to rate     Rating   15

Keep him in England and what better place than "Home of Champions".

Click to rate     Rating   15
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