Tottenham Hotspur have finally agreed to sell Gareth Bale to Real Madrid but want the Spanish club to include youngster Alvaro Morata as a makeweight to sweeten the deal.
Whether or not Madrid will accept such offer that would potentially take the deal past the £100 million mark is a matter of conjecture for now. The very thought that why the North London club are keen to add Morata to their side, when they could try for other superstars of Madrid, raises eyebrows.
For that matter, Madrid had offered left-back Fábio Coentrao and the winger Angel di María as a potential make-weight for this deal, players that are good enough for any football club – again, irrelevant whether they would come or not – but Spurs seem to have taken a keen interest in the 20-year-old.
One of the things we have learnt over the years about Spurs is, Mr. Daniel Levy, the Chairman of the club, is not only a shrewd businessman but is a visionary too. Alvaro Morata would serve two major benefits for the North London club and those are hugely significant in the context of the Spurs’ season.
First and foremost is the financial aspect. If Gareth Bale is sold for a record transfer fee of say around £86-90 million, isn’t it obvious that the whole European market will take a note of it? Spurs will need to reinforce to replenish the void and quite obviously the market price for the players will go up astronomically.
And Spurs won’t obviously buy any ordinary player just for the sake of it. They would go for players who can match the contributions of Gareth Bale, can fit into the managers’ plans nicely, for example Erik Lamela, may be, but they will have to pay over the odds to get him.
The best idea would be not to invest any more on any other players in this transfer window. Keep the money and spend later when the market becomes favorable and ‘normal’ again.
Hence the part exchange deal looks like the most feasible option for them, as Spurs could get a very talented player in Alvaro Morata. They won’t have to spend money apart from his wages, and can take the approach of ‘try-before-you-buy’ system.
If he fits into the system nicely, then Spurs can invest the huge money intelligently in other areas of the pitch, while if he fails, then Spurs can delve into the market and buy a quality player at the right price. The moot point is – Spurs don’t stand to lose anything here, but they can gain a lot.
Now the second big question – can the team relax by only signing Morata when they lost their most precious asset in decades for a record fee?
Alvaro Morata is a highly talented youngster. He is one of the precious jewels in the Real Madrid academy and has recently signed a long-term contract with an enormous buy-out clause. He won the Golden Boot as Spain won the European Under-21 Championship this summer and is touted as the future No. 9 for his nation. Putting it simply, Spurs could get a prodigiously gifted player in return.
But, most importantly Morata will fit into Andre Villas-Boas’ system perfectly. The transition of Gareth Bale as one of world’s best is remarkable. He started his career as a left-back, then was turned into a left-winger, but to maximize his potential Villas-Boas used him as a versatile attacking midfielder – who could play on either of the wings or as attacking midfielder centrally.
If he leaves the club, Villas-Boas’ first priority will be to replace with players that can bring goals to the side, as Bale’s goal scoring form was largely responsible for Spurs’ good show in the Premier League. Already the club has agreed a deal to sign Roberto Soldado, who is capable of scoring 20 plus goals per season.
Villas-Boas used 4-2-3-1 last season mainly and often used the 4-3-3 system too. In fact, he used Bale as a wide right forward in the 4-3-3 system. Bale himself said that it has helped him a lot as he could cut inside and hit the ball on target. Should he leave, the Portuguese will need to find wide forwards rather than typical wingers. That is where Morata fits the bill.
He is a versatile player. He can play as a lone striker, can play alongside the main striker, and can play as wide right and in the midfield too. That means Villas-Boas can use any flexible formation he wants to – he can be deployed as a lone striker in 4-2-3-1, he can be used in 4-4-2 alongside Soldado, he can be used as 4-4-1-1 just behind the Valencia man and he can be used on either flanks in the 4-3-3 system as well.
It will be ludicrous to say that he can replace Bale perfectly but what he can do is to give the manager plenty of options to experiment and think about depending on the opposition. He will bring tactical flexibility to the side which can help Spurs take a gigantic step next season. No wonder why Real Madrid treat him as one of the diamonds of the club.
One major problem Spurs could face with Alvaro Morata is – inexperience. The front line of Nacer Chadli, Morata and Soldado – have never played in the Premier League before, so it might take few months to adjust to the system, condition and pace of the league.
However, Alvaro Morata may not one of the shiny toys in the market right now, but could prove to be a priceless acquisition for the Lilywhites.