This documentary gives an inside look into one of the world’s greatest players, Gareth Bale. It’s 45 minutes well-spent.
Every soccer game there seems to be one or more players on the field who’s hair is too perfect. “How is their hair perfectly styled and stable during such a grueling and exhausting sport?” many wonder to themselves. They have to be consciously making sure their hair looks good when the cameras are not on them. Well apparently Gareth Bale, according to Harry Redknapp’s autobiography, could not stop touching his hair even during training sessions. In his book Harry Redknapp says
He drove me mad in training. Technically, he was outstanding but he always seemed to be playing with his hair. It was never right. He’d be flicking the fringe or wiping it out of his eyes and I would be going quietly mad, just watching. ‘Gareth, leave your barnet alone! Gareth! Stop touching your hair!’
So if Gareth Bale is doing it in training then I can only imagine what Cristiano Ronaldo does during game-time. Probably has an emergency tub of gel in his locker for halftime touch-ups, maybe even some gel behind the goal for mid-half touch-ups. Then again, can you blame Gareth Bale? Flow for days.
Transfer deadline day has come and gone and unless you are an Real Madrid, Tottenham, or Arsenal fan, there’s not too much to really comment on. Liverpool made a couple small splashes by bringing in Victor Moses on loan and grabbing Sakho from PSG. Felliani became Manchester United’s sloppy seconds when first choice midfielder, Herrera, ended up falling through as well as a last minute bid for Khedira. Everton were able to reinvest some of the Felliani money and buy James McCarthy while taking Lukaku and Gareth Barry on loan. A few lower level deals and a few more loan moves rounded out the Premier League action aside from two players – Gareth Bale and Mesut Ozil.
The transfer of Bale to Madrid had been known for some time now since Tottenham were spending cash like Pacman Jones in a strip club (sorry for the American Football reference). It was well documented that prior to the North London Derby on Sunday, Arsenal had spent a total of £0.00 and Tottenham had spent £100m. Even with the ridiculous cash outlay, Tottenham was unable to withstand Arsenal’s determination and seemed to lack the cohesiveness (and rightfully so) of a team who had not played many games together.
Now that the Bale saga is over for Spurs, they can finally focus on what they have brought in and not what they were sending out (similar to the Arsenal/Van Persie situation last year). Arsenal had brought in Giroud and Podolski and seemed to lack the understanding of each other until the second half of the season. Will it take that long for the likes of Lamela, Soldado, and Paulinho to gel? Spurs fans are hoping not, but it is a troubling sign thus far that their only two goals have come by the way of penalties and have yet to score in open play over the first three matches, despite winning two of them. They seemed to lack the offensive spark that Bale had provided for them the last few seasons. Once again, very similar to Arsenal last season following the departure of Van Persie. So all is not lost as the season is still young for the new-look Spurs squad.
Real Madrid broke their own transfer record by combining the previous record holder, Ronaldo, with the current record holder, Bale. All I have to say is I pity the fullbacks of the opposition. Good luck trying to keep up with Ronaldo AND Bale attacking from both sides. Was Bale’s 21 Premier League goals from a season ago worth £85m? What we do know is that his talent and potential is very real. Bale should find it easier in La Liga to breakdown defenses like he did so well with in the Premier League.
However, with spending so much money on one player (as well as several other players brought in), it was necessary for Madrid to 1. make room for Bale and 2. recoup some of the transfer fee that they so willingly threw at Spurs. With an already crowded midfield, Madrid had a tough choice to make as to which midfielder to send out. They had to choose between Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Modric, Ozil, Di Maria and of course, Ronaldo. They offloaded Kaka’s high wages to AC Milan and it seemed like at least one more player had to leave the obviously congested midfield upon Bale’s arrival – enter Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger had been feeling the heat. By the end of the transfer window, he started lashing back at the media with his little quips. Aside from what most Arsenal fans though, he actually did have a plan, even if it did take until the last hour of the transfer window to announce it. Early in the window, Arsene brought in a young, albeit unproven, striker in Yaya Sanogo and then recently brought back Flamini, neither costing a penny in transfer fees. Arsenal fans had seen it before and figured that was the last of Arsene’s signings. However, once the Bale deal went through, Arsene pounced at the opportunity to buy one of Madrid’s world class midfielders, which now seemed like his plan all along. Was Arsene really talking to Madrid about Higuain early in the window, or trying to sure up a deal for Ozil as early as July?
Despite the obvious excitement for Ozil, Arsene still left some holes in the squad. With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski out for months, the attacking options come down to Giroud and an unproven Sanogo. Obviously, Arsene shows tremendous confidence in Giroud and he has produced a goal in 4 of Arsenal’s 5 match so far this season, but it is still a risky proposition to only have one viable striking option. Theo Walcott has played there in a pinch before, but is much better with his speed out wide. Could Bendtner actually be an option for Arsene? The defense is also thin with Vermaelen out for some time. Gibbs and Sagna have missed significant time the last couple of seasons. That leaves Nacho, Mertesacker, and Koscielny, hardly a deep group. Arsene is taking a gamble that his current squad, with the addition of Ozil, will hold up until depth and possibly a top striker could come in January to get a push for some actual trophies – not just finishing top 4.
So how does Gervinho fit into all of this? Let me spell it out:
1) Roma buys Gervinho from Arsenal making Lamela expendable
2) Tottenham buys Lamela to send out Bale
3) Madrid buys Bale making Ozil expendable
4) Arsenal buys Ozil
In Summary, Arsenal swapped Gervinho + £35m for Ozil – superb business. In addition, Spurs not only lost their best player and playmaker, they allowed Arsenal the ability to purchase one of the world’s most creative players.
Probably not what Tottenham had in mind when they decided to cash in on Bale.
According to the latest reports, Real Madrid and Tottenham have agreed “in principle” to a record transfer fee for Gareth Bale. Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United for a record-setting $124m (80m pounds) back in 2009. Real Madrid look to top their own transfer record by submitting a $134m (86m pounds) bid for Tottenham’s Bale. Granted, the transfer market nowadays compared to 2009 is much more inflated, but on the overall record books, Bale would be the most expensive player ever. This could explain Tottenham’s seemingly over ambitious spending spree this summer bringing in quality players Paulinho, Chadli, Soldado, and Capoue. Can any or a combination of them replace Bale’s undeniable impact? That is yet to be seen, but I do know there are a lot of Premier League defenders breathing a sigh of relief to see the talented winger head off to La Liga.
Bale’s transfer has the ability to cause a ripple effect at Madrid. With Ronaldo and Bale on the wing, players like Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric will be forced to take a seat on the bench. The latest rumors are heating up with reports of both Ozil and Di Maria being linked to Arsenal as well as Ozil being linked to a move to United, which would be a great replacement should Rooney move on to another club. As of now, Madrid are about breaking even this summer as they bought some decent players and sold Higuain. A Bale transfer would tip the scale to a huge summer deficit at Madrid so it is only right that speculation seems to be mounting regarding newly expendable players.
All it takes is one huge transfer and the dominoes will start to fall. I think we’re in for an eventful week and deadline day is sure to cause a stir across Europe and Bale may just be the beginning.
Two weeks down, two big upsets so far. Last week saw Arsenal lose to lowly Aston Villa as the Gunners were odds on favorites to at least get points from the match. This week provided a thrilling 3-2 upset victory for Cardiff City over Manchester City. In case you missed the highlights, check them out here:
Last seasons Championship winners made a massive statement to the rest of the Premier League with this win. Down 1-0 after Dzeko’s masterful strike, Cardiff showed great resiliency as they kept attacking the Man City defense. Aron Gunnarsson cleaned up a rebound off Joe Hart to level the scoring at 1-1. Two corner kicks subsequently found the head of Frazier Campbell as the Man City defenders looked rather unconvincing to say the least. Clearly Man City misses their rock at center back with Vincent Kompany sidelined for at least a month. Lescott and Javi Garcia looked rather lost out there at times, especially on the two set piece goals by Campbell. With Kompany out for a somewhat lengthy spell, Man City may be in the market for a center half to sure up the defense in Kompany’s absence.
Manchester City will try to right the ship next weekend against another Championship promoted club, Hull City who downed Norwich this past weekend. Losses to two newly promoted clubs in a row would be a disastrous start for the Premier League runner-ups from last season. Meanwhile, Cardiff will try to continue their momentum from their unlikely victory next weekend when they face Everton. Should their confidence continue to grow, Cardiff could be a team to reckon with this season and will hardly be an easy 3 points for the top clubs – just ask Man City.
Liverpool and Tottenham continued their winning ways with each earning consecutive 1-0 victories in the first two matches. Liverpool have looked comfortable in their wins over Stoke and Villa, but will be tested next weekend as they welcome Manchester United to Anfield, which will provide a good barometer for where the club stands against the top of the table clubs.
On the other side, Tottenham are set up for an early season Derby with rivals Arsenal next weekend. The two clubs may be distracted for different reasons. Arsenal look to bring in quality players before deadline day to provide some relief for their oft-injured squad. Tottenham will be focusing on either the sale or retaining of their highly-coveted winger, Gareth Bale. At the moment, Tottenham look like the better squad even without Bale, but Arsenal have 5 days to do some business before Saturdays match if they would like to bring in some players before deadline day. A victory or draw tomorrow will provide a chance for Arsenal to recruit some players wanting Champion’s League action this season. However, Arsene Wenger’s transfer ambitions seem to be lacking, so the Arsenal faithful shouldn’t be holding their breath.
This is incredible. Imagine what would have happened if Bale was sold. A single decision by a club looking to move on too quickly could have cost a player his career. I know we have already crossed the threshold of ridiculous money versus actual talent but is the game now at a point where players who otherwise could have been world class are left to rot because of less than impressive youth careers?
If this Bale deal does end up going through, is he worth it? Is he the most expensive man in football or is Real Madrid a bit over zealous with their move?
Since my last transfer rumors post back in June, we’ve seen some players take the plunge and actually join new clubs and others have rumors swirling with different clubs:
- Cavani is confirmed to be off to PSG instead of the rumored Chelsea
- Fabio Contrao is now being linked with Tottenham
- Gonzalo Higuain has been transferred to Arsenal then Napoli, yet nothing is confirmed to this point despite the latest reports saying a 37m bid from Napoli has been accepted
- Fellaini remains at Everton and it seems talk of his “release clause” being activated was complete BS
- Manchester United have made a 3rd bid for Cesc Fabregas after we reported they were interested in the beginning of June
So, with those 5 rumors, only one has officially come to fruition.
Recently, I posted about Arsenal possibly splashing some big cash this transfer window. So far, none of those have happened for Arsene Wenger, much to the dismay of the Gunner’s fans.
- Higuain (mentioned above)
- Rooney now looks like Chelsea will be his most likely destination should he leave Old Trafford (IMO, I think he stays)
- Felliani (mentioned above)
- Lars Bender looks like he will be staying at Leverkusen, at least for this year
- Stevan Jovetic is a confirmed Chelsea signing and a good potential Tevez replacement, who is confirmed to be off to Juventus
- Micah Richards is still at Man City and his transfer rumors have cooled down some
- Fernando Torres looks to be staying with Chelsea at least for the time being
- Julio Cesar is still available
- David Villa has been confirmed to stay in Spain and move to Atletico Madrid
The latest confirmed transfers and rumors involve some players not previously mentioned:
- The 20 year old Brazilian Bernard has been the talk of the Brazilian media recently with a reported 21m move to Arsenal set to be confirmed after the copa libertores final on Thursday. He has also been linked with Tottenham and Liverpool. (Not many outside of Brazil know much about him but he does have some impressive highlights)
- Soldado is being linked with a 25m move to Tottenham from his current club Valencia, although the latest reports suggest talks have broken down
- Benfica winger Eduardo Salvio is linked with a 30m move to Chelsea
- The puzzling rumors regarding Juan Mata continue as a potential Arsenal target (I would put this at about a -3% chance of actually happening)
- Liverpool have reportedly made an 18m offer for Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen
- Aston Villa forward Chistian Benteke received a wage boost to remain at Villa next season
- Tiago Alcantara is off to Bayern Munich as they add yet another midfielder that is already world class
- Fellow American Jozy Altidore has officially signed with Sunderland
- Isco turned down the chance to join Manchester City and went with Real Madrid instead
- The latest reports on Gareth Bale see a 6 year deal reached with a move to Real Madrid
- Luis Suarez’s suitors are still reported to be either Arsenal or Real Madrid should Liverpool decide to sell
Next week I will be posting Part 2 (of 3) of my Barclay’s Premier League Predictions. They will be based on the above confirmed transfers and rumors. As some squads have had some notable changes, expect the predictions to change from Part 1 posted 6 weeks ago.