When Gareth Bale left Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid this summer for €91 million, many wondered how the North London club would do without him. The manager Andre Villas-Boas had the difficult task of choosing the right players to replace the Welshman. After nine games, Spurs are doing even better than they did last season when they had Bale in their squad.
After Bale’s departure, Villas-Boas has made many signings to replace the Welshman. The Portuguese manager understood that there was no player of Bale’s quality on the market and never tried to look for a player that looked like the Welshman.
He signed right winger Erik Lamela from Roma, central midfielder Paulinho from Brazilian club Corinthians, left winger Nacer Chadli from Dutch club FC Twente, attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen from Ajax Amsterdam, defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue from French club Toulouse and striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia. All those transfers were made possible by the money received from Bale’s transfer.
Since Bale left, Tottenham are less dependent of an individual and are better as a team. They are more difficult to predict as the danger could be coming from many different players unlike last year, when almost everything went through Bale. The Welshman was so influential last season that Spurs couldn’t afford to rest him even when he needed to.
Also, Villas-Boas had no tactical flexibility and had to build his team around Bale. This season, Spurs have tried different formations with different players and still performed well.
Bale’s departure has also allowed players like Andros Townsend to step up and contribute to fill the gap left behind. The English winger has produced some stellar performances this season, which earned him two caps for England in their crucial World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
Last season, Bale was the only reliable goal scorer Villas-Boas had in his squad, but things are very different this season at Tottenham. Midfielders Paulinho, Eriksen, Chadli, Gyilfi Sigurdsson and striker Soldado are all capable of scoring. Soldado and Sigurdsson are currently the team’s top scorers with four and three goals respectively.
Tottenham have made very good use of the transfer fee received for Bale. Villas-Boas has made great signings and his team looks stronger than last season. They have started the season well and are in fourth place after nine games, making their fans forget that Bale was still playing for them three months ago.