June 19 2013 Latest news:
By London24’s Spurs blogger Daniel Grigg
Monday, July 2, 2012
Tottenham supporter Daniel Grigg reflects on the importance of Gareth Bale’s latest commitment to the club.
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale looks like he will miss out on the questionable honour of representing Team GB in the upcoming Olympic Games, with injury expected to rule him out of Stuart Pearce’s squad.
However, Bale’s commitment to a new four-year contract last week signifies that the young Welshman has much bigger goals at White Hart Lane, despite rumoured interest from Manchester United and arguably the best club side in world football, Barcelona.
Bale’s stats place him among the best in the game, particularly for his age - but it’s the way he’s gone about getting those numbers, with his surging runs and uncanny and uncommon ability to create something from nothing, which have made him such a stand-out star for afficionados of the game.
Used correctly, he’s proved to be about as potent as any of the wingers who are expected to start next season’s Premier League - although he’s not always the most consistent or prolific, something which further improvements to his finishing and crossing could still do wonders for.
That said, having better strikers would still help massively too - particularly ones who are more prepared to gamble, and quick enough to reach Bale’s thunderbolt deliveries across the six-yard box.
But so far, despite all of the rumours about Leandro Damaio and Loic Remy rumours this summer, there have been no new arrivals up front. In fact no-one, despite all the talk, no-one has signed in any position, which is disappointing.
Of course, useful business has been done in selling some of the squad players, which has freed up money both through transfer fees and wages.
Even though Niko Kranjcar was already joining Dynamo Kiev before Euro 2012, Croatia’s performance possibly proved a catalyst for Vedran Corluka’s move to join Roman Pavlyuchenko at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Corluka, playing at centre-back thanks to Dario Srna’s unsurprising inclusion at right-back, impressed even against the dangerous attacking threats of Spain and Italy - the two eventual finalists.
Croatia conceded just three times in their three games - the last of which came very late on against Spain, when they were already exhausted and had started to throw men forward with abandon, chasing the goal that would have sent them through and eliminated the usually comfortable Spanish.
And, while we wait to see whether chairman Daniel Levy can get the sort of fee that Chelsea were offering for Luka Modric last season, his own performance against Spain must have helped too.
In a game where Xavi, Xabi Alonso and even Andres Iniesta did much of their passing sideways, conservatively retaining the ball, Modric was pushed into playing much more offensively than usual with the limited scraps of possession he had.
He still kept the ball and played it backwards when he had to, but was always looking for the goal Croatia that needed, knowing he probably had to be the one to provide it.
Skipping past a challenge on the halfway line and racing away down the right, he then cut inside, drew the defence and momentarily paused, before playing a perfect pass with the outside of his foot, straight onto the head of the onrushing Ivan Rakitic.
The chance went begging as the header went straight at Iker Casillas, but Modric had made his point – he deserved to be in the company of the Spanish legends he was competing against.
Many Spurs fans had resigned themselves to losing the Croatian playmaker this summer, just as long as his departure didn’t spark a general exodus of talent following him out of the door.
But, with Bale taking the lead in committing his future to Tottenham, we should now expect others at the club to be equally convinced by Levy and the Lilywhites’ ongoing ambition.