It has been largely assumed that Spurs would have to sell Bale and would not be able to resist an 85 million pound offer from Real Madrid. Daniel Levy is now seen as just holding out to get a better deal from Madrid. But when analyzing Spurs past transfer history and the current dynamics of the market, it becomes clear that Spurs are most likely not bluffing. They want to keep Bale and have no intention of selling Bale this summer for anything less than an absurd 100+ million pounds. And Spurs are exactly right in their approach. Bale is worth more to Spurs in 2013-14 than 85 million pounds.
Importantly, this doesn’t mean Bale is worth more than 85 million pounds. Bale is an asset. And just like any property, just because someone offers you a huge amount for your house doesn’t mean it makes sense to sell. Timing matters and the timing doesn’t make sense here.
But what about Spurs spending?
One reason to think Bale is on his way is that Spurs are spending likely drunken sailors – only Manchester City in the EPL has spent more this season. The logic goes that poor Spurs can’t afford this, so they must already be using the money they plan to get for Bale now. But there are reasons to doubt this.
As the transfer history shows, Spurs have money. But until this summer, Spurs haven’t really spent considerably since Harry Redknapp’s first two years. Look at the last 8-9 years of transfer activity:
- 2013-14 (-47 mil euros net): Spurs have spent 69 million euros (Paulinho, Soldaldo, Capoue, Chadli) and sold 22 million
- 2012-13 (-4 mil): Spurs last year spent 72 mil euros and sold 68 million euros
- 2011-12 (+36 mil): (Redknapp’s last season), Spurs spent just 6 mill euros (Scott Parker) and sold 42 million euros.
- 2010-2011 (-23 mil): spent 26 million, and sold just 3 million.
- 09-10 (-9 mil): spent 40 and sold 31.
- 08-09 (-50 mil): This was the year Spurs sold Berbatov and Keane (2 pts, 8 games) and then got Redknapp and had to panic buy in the January window, Spurs spent 140 mill and sold 90 mil
- 07-08 (-72 mil): 94 spent (Bent, Bale), 22 mil sold
- 06-07 (-23 mil): 61 spent (Berbatov), 38 mil sold
- 05-06 (-14 mil): 36 spent, 22 mil sold.
Over the last 8 years (excluding this summer), Spurs have spent an average of 20 million euros more per season than they have sold. But if you don’t count the last two seasons Spurs were spending 30 million euros more per season than selling for the 6 seasons between 2005 and 2011. But the past two seasons Spurs have been a selling club netting 32 million euros. So if Spurs could maintain spending at 30 million per season for the six years prior to 2011-2012 than Tottenham have likely been banking revenue the past two seasons.
This means that not only do Spurs have the 32 million euros they have netted the past two seasons, but likely are capable of spending an additional 60 million from a lack of spending. In other words, Spurs have not spent their transfer allotment the past two years. That would equate to Spurs being able to afford to spend about 90 million euros net. Hence, despite already having a net outflow of 47 million euros this window, Spurs should have about an additional 30-40 million euros more they could spend, given the lack of spending the past two years. This is what makes Tottenham’s bid for Willan and others financially viable. Furthermore, if Spurs plan on selling Bale next season, they can count on likely being in the black in terms of spending, likely making them more willing to push their spending limit.
Lastly, my guess is that part of the agreement in keeping AVB at Spurs (he turned down Real and PSG) is that he will be given the resources to compete. This current rate of spending is probably part of that deal. So Spurs spending could easily be disconnected from any Bale sale.
Second, it is harder to replace Bale now because you don’t have the attraction of CL. Next year, if Spurs make the CL they can actually use the funds to lure current CL quality players. Right now Spurs have to speculate more in the transfer market, as they have to find players that they think will be of that calibre.
Third, you gain global market share by keeping Bale. Bale is the best player in the Premier League and a human highlight reel. There’s a reason why Spurs ranked top in NBC’s chose your club promotion and its Bale. He’s on the Time’s Square billboard for god sakes. In politics this is called “earned media” – ie free publicity. Spurs will never be able to get this sort of free publicity again. This could hugely impact the potential earnings of the club, as new markets, with a growing fan base have thousands of people looking for a team to cheer for, for jersey’s to buy.
Fourth, Spurs actually have a shot at winning the league with Bale. Yes, with Bale (and with AVB and new signings), Spurs can win the title. The top 3 EPL clubs have new managers this season and while Mourinho isn’t exactly “new” he has to reshape the squad and could face a couple hiccups. The winning point totals the past four seasons have been 89, 86, 80, and 86 points. There are reasons to believe that it will be less this year, due to competitive balance and new coaches. Let’s say 82-86 points wins this year. With Bale likely playing as a striker/attacking midfield from the get go and with Soldaldo and other new signings, Spurs will likely improve on the 72 points last year when they had no strikers scoring more than a handful of goals and had a new manager. It is by no means unreasonable to think Spurs could potentially be about 10 points better than they were last year. And at around 82 points they are fully in the title race.
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