Tottenham: What Gareth Bale brings back to Spurs

Gareth Bale (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
Gareth Bale (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images) /

Beyond the nostalgia the comes with bringing back the prodigal son, Gareth Bale brings some skills to Tottenham Hotspur that the club need.

Following seven seasons with Real Madrid, Gareth Bale is bringing some incredibly special skills back with him to Tottenham Hotspur.

Beyond the good feelings of having Bale back, it just so happens, the skills he brings are ones Spurs desperately need, as the club looks to move beyond almost-great status to trophy holders.

Bale’s pace and power, his free kick ability, and the winning mentality he gained from Real Madrid make Bale the perfect addition to this Spurs squad looking to take that next step.

Bale brings power and pace to Tottenham

Occasionally, there are those athletes whose ability can begin to transcend a sport; Gareth Bale is one of those athletes. Before Bale arrived, Tottenham had a strong front line in Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane, and Lucas Moura – the most common starting attacking three. Each of those three brings something unique of their own, but not so unique Bale does not have a little bit of it.

Son is an incredibly graceful athlete who runs with real pace, looking to attack players with either foot or finish. Moura is a slightly less graceful runner, who even more than Son relies on his pace and a bit of timing to make things happen. Alternatively, Kane is a much more powerful player. Never one to be accused of being the fastest on the team, Kane’s pace is sound, but it is his overall power to shield and protect the ball and his quickness in tight space that makes him special.

Now Tottenham can add Bale to that mix, and he brings a little bit of everything with him. He has the flat-out speed of Moura, allowing the ability to just sprint to sometimes beat the opposition. Bale has the grace and ambidexterity of Son, with the ability to attack left-footed or right and just as easily get to the end-line and set up a cross as beat the defender and finish with style.

Like Kane, Bale also has that raw power, with an incredible frame that can protect the ball and move defenders without a lot of effort. Granted, Bale is not as good a finisher as Kane, nor is he nearly as polished and refined as Son, but he has enough of both players in him to both change a game and scare the defense. The pace and power he brings to an already potent attack should give Jose Mourinho all he needs to attack the opposition.

Spurs’ free-kick concerns

For a long time, Christian Eriksen was the free-kick taker for Tottenham Hotspur and then for a while Kieran Trippier took on part of that role. However, neither of those ball strikers are still with the club, leaving Tottenham with a bit of a hole in that department. Sure, we have seen Eric Dier, Erik Lamela, and Kane all have a go at the free-kicks with differing amounts of success.

If the game is on the line and there is a free-kick within 30 yards, but outside the box, there is no question now who will take it for Tottenham. Clearly, the penalty taker is Kane, no questions asked, but the same should be true of the big free-kicks.

Now, Bale has not scored a free-kick in several years, but that is more from a lack of opportunity than his ability. From day one under Zinedine Zidane, Bale was never the top choice on free-kicks. Now he is on a team in search of a free-kick taker and he happens to be a free-kick taker looking for a team. What a great match.

Bale building a winning mentality at Madrid

Bringing in Jose Mourinho was a big step in working toward winning trophies at Tottenham. Having a coach who has been there and done that at every stop on his career gives a sense of confidence that this team desperately needs. The other thing that adds confidence to the locker room is having winners in it. Hugo Lloris as club captain and a World Cup-winning captain brings quite a bit of that, but his success at the club level is a different story.

This is where Bale — and Sergio Reguilon as a Europa League winner to some extent — brings something to the team. Literally from the moment he arrived at Madrid, he did so to do one thing — win trophies. Okay, become super rich and great at golf but that is a different story. Bale left to win and win he did. Over seven seasons with Madrid, Bale won and won a lot.

Bale was part of a Madrid team that won 15 trophies over seven seasons. Those included four UEFA Champions Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups, four Club World Cups, and four other trophies in Spain, including La Liga twice.

Spurs brought Mourinho to the club because he was a winner. One of the major reasons Bale is back at the club is because he is a winner. Having players with that experience and with a winning mentality will only help as Tottenham work to get over the hump and celebrate with some silverware.

Ultimately, it is up to Spurs as a team, not Jose Mourinho as a coach, or Gareth Bale as a player, but Tottenham Hotspur as a team, to win trophies. However, adding a player to a solid club, that brings the winning experience and attitude, the free-kick ability, and the power and pace of Gareth Bale, brings Spurs all the closer to that promised land.

All the better now that the prodigal son has returned.