Tag Archives: Gareth Bale

TOP FIVE PREMIER LEAGUE TRANSFERS

Following the closure, or ‘slamming’ of the transfer window late on Monday night for Premier League clubs wishing to buy from abroad, the time is nigh to pick the top five transfers from the bizarre summer of 2020.

Many may have expected a curbed spending prior to the window given the financial landscape and without the prospect of full stadiums on the horizon, although top flight clubs still spent in excess of £1 billion – remarkable.

Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur

The Welsh star has returned to the place that first brought him to the attention of the world in Tottenham Hotspur having spent a strange last 18 months in Madrid.

Bale, who is now 31 years old left north London for Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for a reported £85.3 million fee and enjoy a largely successful spell, including multiple La Liga and Champions League successes. Most of which the athletic forward was an integral part of.

However the last two seasons in particular have seen the Welshman take up a watching brief, perhaps owing to injury and a fallout with the powers that be.

Bale has now resigned for Spurs on loan and despite not playing since his return due to injury, fans across the land will be excited to see the man who was once heralded as amongst the world’s elite playing football again.

Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool

Perhaps the most talked about move of the summer finally came to fruition as defending Premier League champions spent just over £20 million to land their man from Bayern Munich.

The Spaniard has only made one fleeting second half appearance against Chelsea thus far, having since tested positive for Covid-19.

However that 45 minutes and his previous form is enough to convince Reds fans and many others the 29 year old will add plenty of quality to an already packed Liverpool midfield.

The multiple trophy winner has an eye for a pass and dictates plenty of matches and will perhaps provide additional threat to the best team in the land.

James Rodriguez – Everton

Another who hasn’t played a massive amount of football in recent times, however the Columbian forward has certainly hit the ground running in an Everton shirt as the Blues have got off to the perfect start in the Premier League.

The 2012 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner has been in dazzling form since his arrival and linking back up with Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Having signed from Real Madrid with plenty of pedigree, the 29 year old has certainly delivered up to now. With sterner tests to come including the Merseyside derby after the international break – Everton fans will be praying long may it continue.

Thomas Partey – Arsenal

A deadline day arrival at the Emirates after the Gunners had toyed with the idea of the move for some weeks.

Eventually Arsenal met the release clause for the midfielder after much conjecture and perhaps looking at other targets including Houssem Aouar and Jorginho from Chelsea.

The 27 year old arrived on a £45 million deal from Atletico Madrid after suffering a disappointing time in the Spanish capital. Partey is a combative midfielder with lots of ability, who impressed across the two legs in the Champions League quarter finals last season against Liverpool.

Arsenal fans will be looking forward to seeing their new man in action after the international break.

Kai Havertz – Chelsea

The biggest monetary move in the window, Chelsea who were extra busy this summer in terms of incomings, confirmed the signing of one of the hottest properties in European football from Bayer Leverkusen.

Havertz signed for a deal rising up to £71 million and has enjoyed a reasonable start to life in the Premier League without setting the world alight.

The Blues, and Frank Lampard will want and perhaps expect more from the 21 year old, but given time it is extremely likely the Germany international will deliver.

Honourable Mentions

Diogo Jota’s move from Wolves to Liverpool adds additional strength in depth for the champions.

Manchester United landed superstar Edison Cavani on a free on the final day of the window, the Uruguayan has lots of experience and has certainly delivered at the top level.

Domestic Opportunities

Whilst the option to sign from foreign clubs has now ended, Premier League clubs can still sign players from within the UK and there are plenty of possibilities.

Said Benrahma of Brentford is perhaps the most likely to make a move to the top flight, with Crystal Palace and plenty of others reportedly interested in the Algerian forward.

Huddersfield Town striker Karlan Grant is another who has attracted top flight interest.

Premier League clubs would be wise to realistically consider Championship players with the likes of Eberchi Eze and Ollie Watkins both making the step up this term, with success.

Where next for gareth bale?

On Thursday the footballing world was treated to a lesser seen phenomenon, Gareth Bale played football, on an actual football pitch.

The 31 year old perhaps now ex-superstar appeared in the first-half for Wales during their 1-0 victory over Finland. In truth it wasn’t Bale’s finest 45 minutes and his manager Ryan Giggs said the amount of time was all he was fit for given his lack of match fitness, having not played for months on end.

With a CV that matches some of the greats of the game Bale has found himself very much of the periphery of things at Real Madrid for around two seasons now. Having almost secured a move to China last summer, the former Tottenham man could be looking for a way out of the Bernabau once more.

In a recent, honest, interview with Sky Sports, the Welsh forward said Real Madrid: ”make things very difficult” when asked abut his desire to leave the club.

Surely the time has come for the four times Champions League winner to find himself a new club, and with it regular football once more.

Success at Madrid?

There can be no doubt prior to the fallout Bale’s time in the Spanish capital has ultimately been a success, however, fans of the club would perhaps suggest otherwise.

Since completing his £90 million move the forward has won two La Liga titles, one Copa Del Rey, three FIFA Club World Cups, and the aforementioned four UEFA Champions League crowns.

Individually the Cardiff born star has the incredible record of 105 Madrid goals in 251 appearances in all competitions, including one of the greatest goals to ever grace a Champions League final.

Despite falling dramatically out of favour with Zinedine Zidane and the fans, although in truth the fans always seemed to struggle to warm to the Welshman, seemingly because he wasn’t Cristiano Ronaldo and occasionally took the limelight off their darling, nobody can deny Bale still has something to offer at the highest level.

His fleeting international outings have proven his quality remains, often the go to man for a Welsh side which has reached higher than usual heights in recent times.

So where could, and should he end up…

Having been on the verge of a move to the Chinese Premier League last summer many may seem a repeat of that move as the logical switch,. Given his current wages and the two years left on his deal, it is going to take a club with deep pockets as well as some bargaining from all parties to make this move happen.

Without one aspect of the move forgoing some financial loss, Bale could continue to earn his money sitting on the bench and playing golf in his free time.

The romantics and Spurs fans will be dreaming of a return to White Hart Lane where he made his name, having been a struggling left-back before moving up the pitch and setting the Premier League alight.

In truth the powers that be and the wage structure in place is unlikely to see Bale back at Spurs. It is much more likely the Welshman heads to one of the other top six Premier League clubs, Manchester United have often been touted as potential suitors.

Opinion

Simply seeing Bale back playing football is the preferable option, however, not at one of Liverpool’s main rivals as adding a player of his abilltiy would enhance any squad, even if his days of playing two matches a week are behind him.

Whilst there is very little chance of it happening, given his wage demands and the type of player Liverpool sign. I would love to see Bale in the red of Liverpool, although I can’t foresee him being delighted with Jurgen Klopp’s running demands. A player of his immense quality would be beneficially to every team in world football, they simply need to let him play.

Real Madrid win La Liga Title after three year gap

Real Madrid clinched their first La Liga title since 2017 following a 2-1 victory over Villarreal on Thursday.

Real wrapped up the title with a game to spare after a Karim Benzema brace secured victory.

In an empty Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Benzema opened the scoring in the 29th minute. The forward added a second in the 77th minute from the spot.

Vincente Iborra pulled a goal back late in the game, but it was to late for the visitors.

Zinedine Zidane’s side were crowned La Liga Champions for the 34th time in their history. They head into the final day of the season with a seven-point lead over second place Barcelona.

Since the restart back in Spain in June, Madrid have won ten consecutive matches and have been unstoppable.

Zidane said:

“Today is one of the best days for me as a professional,

“After everything that happened, the three-month break, it is fantastic what has been achieved.”

La Liga titles have been in short supply for Real, this is only their third in the past nine seasons.

However, when it comes to European success it is a different story. They won three consecutive European Cups in Zidane’s first tenure.

What makes Real’s success this season even more remarkable is that last season they were also rans behind Barcelona. Barca finished a notable 19 points clear of their rivals and looked favourites to complete another La Liga triumph this season before a ball was kicked.

However, Zidane’s troops had other ideas. The Frenchman has always been hailed for his man-management abilities and tactics.

Despite virtually having the same squad as last season, Zidane knew there was a problem defensively with the side. This campaign has seen Madrid a much solid unit at the back.

As a result, they currently boast the best defensive record in the league having conceded only 23 goals in 37 games thus far. This is half the number of goals conceded in their last campaign.

Ferland Mendy has looked assured at left back and Raphael Varane having the best season of his career. Thibaut Courtois, meanwhile, is looking back to his best between the sticks and with Sergio Ramos such a competitive leader along with the outstanding Casemiro, this side oozes quality.

Madrid have had goals in them all season with 21 different players getting in on the scoresheet. In fact, their forward line has fired blanks all season.

That said it is an all-round squad that performs in all departments that will win you silverware and Real have proved this.

On a night of high celebrations, it was noticeable that Gareth Bale wasn’t one of those joining in the fun.

The Welshman was pictured standing away from the group. Bale was also spotted tamely punching the air at the end of the back row. He was then caught on camera attempting to trip up his teammates as they jumped around in a circle.

Make of that what you will but could that be a message to the Spanish giants to say I’m off soon, thank you very much?

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has come out and been critical of his Barca colleagues, saying “things have to change” at the club.

He went on to add:

“We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm.”

Scathing words indeed from the world’s greatest footballer. That said, the magician has a good point.

Barcelona haven’t performed up to their normal high standards this season. They have looked as always to Messi to lead from the front, which he has and delivered as well.

It is others who are not keeping up to the very hight standards of performances that Barca expect from them.

Overall, Real Madrid have deserved their La Liga title and they will be a difficult act to catch again next season. Barcelona have to raise their standards for the next campaign, otherwise Zidane will be smiling from ear to ear once more.

La Liga Preview: Seville Derby Kicks-off restart

After a break of three months, La Liga will resume this week with all eyes on the race for the title between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

After Madrid’s El Classico victory over Barcelona, the Catalan club’s lead at the top of the table has been cut to only two points. It isn’t just at the top of the table that remains interesting, there is plenty of interest in the battle for Champions League qualification, with just five points separating third placed Sevilla and seventh placed side Valencia.

At the bottom Espanyol, Leganes and Mallorca are separated by just five points with Celta Vigo and Eibar perilously close to danger.

The action resumes behind closed doors on Thursday when Sevilla entertain Real Betis.

Before the break Sevilla had picked up a useful point at Atletico Madrid with Real Betis gaining a well-deserved home win against Real Madrid. Real Betis have certainly struggled on the road this season, picking up just a single victory on their travels.

The hosts will be without Nemanja Gudelj who is currently serving a one match suspension, whilst Betis continue to be without Juan Lopez who is expected back in action shortly.

On Friday Getafe travel to ninth placed Granada.

Getafe certainly enjoy playing away, having picked up 21 points so far on the road. Before the break both sides picked up a point apiece and both teams have two victories out of their last five games played.

Granada could well be without as many as five regular players for Friday nights game with Antonio Puertas serving a one game ban and Angel Montoro doubtful alongside long-term absentees Alex Martinez, Quini and Neyder Lozano.

The visitors will be missing a trio of players due to suspension. Nemanja Maksimovic, Jaime Mata and Mauro Arambarri all are serving a one game ban with Filip Manojlovic out with a back injury.

Also, on Friday Valencia host Levante at the Mestalla Stadium.

Valencia will be looking to get back to winning ways again after just one win in their last five games-  a 2-1 victory over Betis, whilst Levante will be hoping to improve their dismal away record which currently stands at 11 losses on the road.

In the previous five meetings between the sides Levante have still yet to take a point of Valencia.

The hosts will be without Geoffrey Kondogbia due to suspension with Ezequiel Garay sidelined with a knee injury. For the visitors Ivan Lopez will miss the match due to a knee problem.

Four matches are scheduled for Saturday, with the action commencing with basement club Espanyol entertaining Alaves.

The hosts, who have managed just a single victory at their headquarters this season are up against 14th placed Alaves who have won just twice on their travels.

The home side will go into Saturday’s encounter without Diego Lopez who is serving a one game suspension, whilst Joselu will be missing for the visitors due to suspension.

Celta Vigo, who are only a single point ahead of the bottom three, face Villarreal at Abanca- Balaidos.

The home side go into the game on the back of no win in their last five, whilst Villarreal are winless in their last three games.

Vigo will be without Sergio Alvarez, who is still out with a meniscus injury. As for the visitors, they will be missing Rueben Pena through suspension, with Bruno Soriano, Ramiro Mori and Ramiro Guerra all out through injuries.

Struggling Leganes host Valladolid on Saturday evening at Estadio Municipal de Butarque.

In the last three meetings between the sides Leganes hold a record of two wins and a draw.

Leganes go into the game on the back of their last match before the enforced break which was a 2-1 victory against Villarreal.

Saturday will also see Barca travel to Mallorca in the last match of the day.

Despite an unblemished home form, Barcelona have struggled on their travels this season picking up 18 points from 13 matches.

In their last three meetings between the sides Barcelona have hit 14 goals, with Mallorca replying with just two.

The hosts will be missing Lumor Agbenyenu and Leonardo Koutris through injuries with Clement Lenglet out for Barca due to suspension.

Athletic Bilbao take on Atletico Madrid in the first of three games on Sunday.

The home side will go into the game with bags of confidence having won their last two matches against Vallodolid and Villarreal. Madrid are certainly becoming the draw specialist on their travels- so far having picked up seven- and three victories.

The visitors have doubts for Sunday game with Angel Correa, Joao Felix and Sime Vrsaljko injured along with long term Dario Poveda who is out for the season.

Second place Real Madrid take on Eibar on Sunday at the Bernabeu.

Madrid who are currently unbeaten at home will be strong favourites to take all three points having beaten Eiber four times in their last five meetings between the sides, however Real go into the game having had only one win in their last five games. Eiber have only one win in their last five games and that was against Levante.

Gareth Bale is a doubt for the home side, with Nancho Fernandez and Luka Jovic out. For the visitors, Gonzalo Escalante misses the match due to suspension.

The final match on a packed weekend of La Liga action sees Real Sociedad entertain Osasuna.

Fourth placed Sociedad are on fire at the moment having won four of their last five matches before the break.

Ander Guevara is a doubt for the hosts with Osasuna coming into the game without potentially as many as seven players.