November 5th, 2010
Player Loyalty: A Question Of Trust Or Tactics?
Yes ladies (and gents), it would appear Gareth Bale has plenty to smile about. (Getty Images/Zimbio)
You might have heard of Gareth Bale. He’s the Lord Of The Rings Reject/Cutey Pup Pup currently doing brilliantly with Spurs in the Champions League and being hailed as a world class player. Rafa Benitez has already expressed an interest in Bale after his demolition of holders Inter Milan in the competition, and there have been murmurings from Old Trafford, where Sir Alex Ferguson may see Bale as a perfect replacement for fellow countryman Ryan Giggs.
No one is going to deny that Spurs aren’t a great club under Harry Redknapp (and on current form have as good a chance as any team of getting through to the final stages of the Champions League.) That said, they’re not in the same ‘big’ club category as clubs like Chelsea, Real Madrid or Manchester United, for example. Their spending power is limited and it could be argued that it is Redknapp’s tactical nous that has taken his team to the top of Group A, as oppose to marquee names.
Spurs say that they do not have to sell Bale and they do not want to. But the decision may not be down to them. While Bale has pledged his future to Spurs now, if he wishes to become an ‘elite’ player and command the kind of wages and sponsorship deals that the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo enjoy, his head may well be turned by future offers from more financially powerful clubs. Who could blame him? A player has a limited time to build his career and must make the most of his financial position. (Getty Images/Zimbio)
But what of loyalty? There have been complaints from many lower league clubs across Europe in the past that they have brought on talented youngsters and then seen their investment vanish as the player is cherry picked by a bigger club as a prospect, often for a tiny fee. Fan and media ire can even be directed towards the player for making such a decision; remember Ashley Cole’s transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea?
As Shaun Wright Phillips can testify, it’s not always and easy ride when you get there, either. SWP’s great form for a pre-Sheik Mansour Manchester City culminated in a £21million transfer from City to Chelsea in 2005, but the player struggled to get a game a Stamford Bridge, his form suffering for the lack of competitive football. He eventually made the switch back to City in 2008. And don’t get us started on Robinho. (Getty Images/Zimbio)
Gareth Bale himself signed for Spurs from Southampton in 2007 and struggled for form, a run of twenty four starts with no wins surely his darkest time. Now he is enjoying the kind of attention afforded only to the elite and on current form could arguably walk into any side in the world. At least Rafa Benitez seems to think so.
But does he owe his club something for the years of training and honing, or should he be entitled to make his hay while the sun shines, the talent being his and his alone?
Are you a fan of a so called ‘smaller’ club who has lost a player and then watched them become world class, maybe as a result of what they learned with your squad?
Are you a fan of a ‘big’ club and think smaller clubs benefit from this kind of transaction? Do you think your club should be able to buy who it likes in order to ensure success?
Tell us. Tell us now.