The agent for Tottenham star Gareth Bale sent the transfer rumor mill into a wild spin on Monday. He claimed Bale would be a perfect fit at mega-rich French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), according to the Mirror.
“Bale is the type of player PSG need… But he is very happy at Tottenham,” the Mirror reports Jonathan Barnett told Telefoot.
Bale, 22, won last season’s Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Player of the Year award. This season’s outstanding performances have cemented his status as one of British soccer’s top players, and made him one of world soccer’s most in-demand players.
He will reportedly consider his future over the summer. If Tottenham fails to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, and manager Harry Redknapp takes over as England manager, Bale could conceivably leave North London in a blockbuster transfer.
A transfer bid in the region of £50 million ($79.2 million) could convince Tottenham to sell the Welsh star. FC Barcelona and Inter Milan are among his rumored suitors.
PSG is awash with cash, and has set about recruiting some of world soccer’s biggest names. Leonardo and Carlo Ancelotti have the mandate to build the club into a French and European powerhouse, and have spent nearly £100 million ($157 million) on new players.
The Parisian club has been linked with a host of superstars in recent months, including Liverpool FC’s Luis Suarez. Signing Bale would be a transfer coup and make a bold statement of intent. His addition would likely attract other players of his stature to the French capital, bringing the dreams of Qatari owner owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi that much closer to fruition.
But Bale should shun the riches on offer at PSG, as he talents would be blunted by the slower rhythm of the French game.
The way Bale plays the game is not best-suited for French soccer. He terrorizes defenders with his uncanny mix of speed, power and skill. It is highlighted every weekend in the open style of English soccer (especially the way Spurs play).
The French game is slower, less direct and more defensive than its English counterpart. He would find space harder to come by, as opposing fullbacks are less likely push into the attack. Defensive lines tend to play deeper in France, leaving less space for Bale to use his sprinter’s speed to devastating effect.
It is entirely possible that he would be less effective in the tighter confines of French soccer. The sight of the Welsh international trying to run past two or three defenders into a dead-end when receives the ball would frustrate the player and his fans.
It would likely be followed by the inevitable cries of “what a waste of money” from the notoriously fickle PSG fans. Add the possibility that he would not embrace the French lifestyle as fully as Joe Cole has done, and it makes for a risky move on the part of both player and club.
A player of Bale’s ability belongs in the UEFA Champions League. But there are plenty of other clubs that could offer him that platform without the risks attached. But hey, it’s not my money being spent.