COMMENTARY | Rumors and hearsay about Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale making what has been referred to in the press as an "imminent" move to Real Madrid is just that -- speculation, and not much more.
Nothing has been confirmed by either club involved nor by anybody within the player's camp, and thus a large majority of us in the football world are merely spectators waiting for the situation to come to an end. Looking at Tottenham's transfer activity thus far and also at buys that are apparently being completed as this piece processes, the math suggests that Spurs are spending money that they will eventually receive in a Bale sale. That leaves the role of Tottenham hero open and ready to be filled.
Tottenham's MVP without Bale: Jan Vertonghen
I've spoken with more than a few Spurs supporters over the past 10 months or so who would agree that Vertonghen and not Bale was the team's true savior in 2012-13. Bale's heroics last season would have only been worth so much had Spurs routinely leaked in goals throughout league play, something that didn't happen due, in part, to Vertonghen being the cornerstone of his side's back line. Vertonghen prefers a more centralized role, but his ability to shift out to the left or play as a CDM makes him as versatile a big man as there is in the league. He's also a real scoring threat when he pushes forward.
Tottenham's MVP without Bale: Hugo Lloris
Tottenham's No. 1 emerged as one of the EPL's best goalkeepers in his Premier League debut season, and he was the club's man of the match this past Sunday when Spurs held on to a 1-0 lead when away to Crystal Palace. Let's assume, for argument's sake, that Bale already has one foot in Spain and will leave Spurs searching for goals over the next nine months. Lloris keeping clean sheets could mean the difference between Tottenham earning Champions League and the club once being relegated to Spursdays Thursdays.
Tottenham's MVP without Bale: Sandro
He hasn't yet officially returned to Premier League duty, but Spurs fans don't need to see "The Beast" out on the pitch to know what he will mean to this side. Go back to last January when Spurs were rolling and before Bale's magical February during which he carried Tottenham to multiple wins. It was then when the team lost Sandro to injury for the season. That one moment changed the club's fortunes for more than just the second half of the 2012-13 campaign, especially if Bale is leaving to pursue Champions League football. There's no way of knowing what might have been, but it's hardly a stretch to suggest that Tottenham would have earned at least a couple of more points from February through May had Sandro remained fully fit.
Tottenham's MVP without Bale: Roberto Soldado
As of right now, Soldado, who scored from the penalty spot in his Spurs debut on the first Sunday of the season, is Tottenham's only reliable goal scorer. Emmanuel Adebayor is expected to be on his way out, and Jermain Defoe's constant struggles with consistency played a part in Soldado joining the club this summer. Bale netted 26 goals across all competitions for Spurs last season. Somebody is going to have to make up for that production if the Welsh wonder is headed to the Bernabeu.
Perhaps most interesting about the previous sections is that I listed four players that will be vital for Spurs this season. Three of those men were at the club exactly one year ago. Not included were the likes of Aaron Lennon, who is coming off the best season of his professional career, a potential breakout star in Mousa Dembele, and Premier League "buy of the summer" candidate Etienne Capoue.
Weren't Spurs supposed to be a "one man team?"
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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