Gareth Bale, the Welsh footballer has been the biggest highlight of this summer transfer window, being bought by Real Madrid for a staggering 100 million euros ($132 million). This signing makes Gareth Bale the most expensive soccer player in the world overcoming his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo’s $131 million move from United in 2009. Ever since this deal was signed on September 1, questions have been raised on the expediency of the deal.
NOT A MESSI OR A RONALDO
Gareth Bale, first came into limelight in 2010 when he was unstoppable against Inter Milan in the Champions League and scored a hat-trick for Tottenham. Bale’s abundance of speed and skill has been clear to all since this match as he humbled European club defender of the year Maicon and his Inter teammate Lucio, making them look five steps too slow. He has won several individual player of the year awards for his match-winning performances at Tottenham. Still, as good as he undoubtedly is, Bale is not world-record good or close to it. A fee as huge as 100 million euros can only be understood for two stars – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The four-time world player of the year has scored more competitive goals than anyone for Barcelona and won everything there is to win with that club. With 202 goals in 202 matches for Real, an astounding ratio of success, Ronaldo also has repeatedly proved his value for the club. Bale cannot match to the level of these two players in terms of technique and trophies won for their respective clubs.
SPANISH ECONOMY AT THE TIME OF TRANSFER
Another point that has to be kept in mind while questioning the deal is the state of Spanish economy at the time of the transfer. At a time when more than 25 per cent of Spaniards are living below the poverty line, the 100 million deal seems to be mind-boggling. Madrid will have to finance the deal at least partially with a bank loan in a country where banks are not willing to lend at this time.
BARCELONA’S SIGNING OF NEYMAR
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid had keen interest in signing Neymar, but ever since the Catalans beat Madrid by signing the Brazilian for 57 million euros, Madrid finalized Bale as their next transfer target. By signing Bale for a 100 million euros, Madrid sends the message “Anything you do, we can do bigger.” Bale will be measured week in, week out against Messi, Ronaldo and his own massive price tag.
HOW DOES HE FIT IN?
Quick, left-sided, can shoot off either foot, decent in the air with prodigious energy levels: it is a description that fits Ronaldo, too, and Ancelotti must find a way to get both into Real’s team. One out of the two players would have to play more centrally but Ronaldo is unlikely to relish being cast on the flank while the team rotates around the new boy. Paying a massive fee can be justified when there is a definite need. However, in no way did Madrid need Bale. Madrid should have gone for a striker instead of a left winger as Ronaldo already occupies the left wing. This means Bale will either play as the striker, behind the striker or on the right wing. To put it simply, Madrid is now forced to find a place for Bale in the lineup.
In my opinion, Gareth Bale is not worth 100 million euros. Looking back at the list of the world’s most expensive footballers- Ronaldo, Kaka, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, Bale just does not fit in this group of players. These four players had already proven themselves to be some of the greatest on the planet at the time of their transfers. With Ronaldo, Zidane and Figo, Madrid knew they were getting massive stars that would win trophies. They were the best around and nobody had to justify the money spent on them.
Not only is Bale not in the debate for the best player in the world at the moment, he was arguably not even the best player in England last season. Real Madrid has taken a big chance on Bale, he could end up like Ronaldo, who justified his transfer fee or he could end up being a waste of a large chunk of cash.
The only confirmed winners from the deal are Gunners. It has been confirmed that arrival of Bale forced Mesut Ozil out of Madrid. Arsenal sit right at top of the Barclays Premier League and it is only after the arrival of Ozil that this team has risen to the top. His presence in the midfield has helped the Gunners a great deal.
Overall, the deal seems to be a gamble from Madrid. That we will get to know in the coming years, if the gamble pays off or turns out be the biggest mistake for Madrid.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.