Paper Talk: Bale back at Spurs, Havertz role at Chelsea, and Suarez joins Atletico Madrid
24/09/2020: Here's football4football's take on three of the biggest football stories that everyone's talking about right now.
DISCUSSION: Here's our take on the biggest football stories right now.
Will Bale succeed back at Spurs?
ADIOS: Despite the trophies, Gareth Bale's time at Real Madrid has been very turbulent.
In 88 per cent of the minutes Bale played last season, he was positioned (nominally at least) as a wide forward on the right-hand side. Most often he was playing in a 4-3-3, and so a similar role in that kind of system would appear to be Mourinho’s most logical use. That would leave Son on the left and Kane central in an all-star front three that would be good enough to compensate for the apparent lack of choreography in the way this Spurs team currently attack. Bale can of course also operate from the left, but he did so in just 12 per cent of matches last season and is far more effective cutting onto his left foot from the right-hand side.
Bale no longer plays with the same rampaging style as at the time of his Spurs departure in 2013.
This is a hugely exciting transfer for Tottenham Hotspur fans. Similar to the constant Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United stories, this transfer gets brought up every single year. This time, it's actually happened. It's very difficult to know how Gareth Bale will fare because his fitness is a big issue. He will still be very very fit because he's a professional who trains day in day out. That being said, general fitness and match sharpness are a different thing. For 3-4 years now he has played a bit-part role in Madrid, so it might take a couple months before we see him firing on all cylinders. When he's fit though, Spurs have got a world-class forward who could cause some real damage.
Verdict: Gareth Bale combining with Kane and Son is exciting, but the injury record is there for all to see.
Where does Havertz fit at Chelsea?
LETHAL: Havertz has already been lauded as one of Bayer Leverkusen's best ever players by Sporting Director Rudi Voller.
However, while there may be very few question marks surrounding Havertz’s talent there may be some hovering over the issue of where he’ll actually feature in Lampard’s Chelsea side. Although Werner tends to drop into the channels and play as something akin to an inside forward, he’ll still likely start upfront. Similarly, Ziyech has shown how adept he is on either wing yet his arrival will almost certainly see him replace Willian on the right-wing. And since Chelsea already have Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left, it seems as though Havertz will take up his preferred role as No.10 in Lampard’s side.
Havertz always has and always will be a midfielder that prioritises scoring goals above all else.
Kai Havertz has the potential to be a generational talent, mainly because he's so hard to describe. He's the sort of player that many coaches wouldn't give too specific a role to. Just let him float around the attacking third work his magic. He mostly fits the number 10 role, because he's extremely creative and can bring the best out of the players around him. Equally, it would be very interesting to see him play just behind Timo Werner as a shadow striker. His decision making and agility together with Werner's pace and finishing is a very exciting prospect. With Chelsea's quality and depth in attack, Havertz may pop up in a variety of roles this season.
Verdict: Havertz could be as good for Chelsea as Eden Hazard was.
Suarez links up with Simeone
AGGRESSION: Luis Suarez has been a formidable striker for Barcelona.
The 33-year-old will sign a two-year contract at Atlético. Simeone, who has previously described the Uruguayan as a “hugely important player: tremendous, marvellous, extraordinary, strong, aggressive, intense”, phoned Suárez to convince him to join when the manager saw an opportunity had opened up. They are men of similar mindsets and it is a terrifying prospect for opponents, not least with Suárez potentially playing alongside Diego Costa. It has caused huge excitement among Atlético fans.
For Barcelona, his departure represents a success but the way it has played out has been damaging.
This transfer is steeped in complicated club politics and arguments. Luis Suarez seemed on the verge of joining Juventus, but couldn't get Italian citizenship in time. Barcelona were extremely specific about which clubs he could join, ruling out sides like Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain. Although they wish they had, they didn't rule out Atletico Madrid. Suarez has exactly the sort of ruthless, hard-working spirit that Diego Simeone wants his players to have. It almost seems like a match made in heaven.
Verdict: Suarez is going to continue scoring goals at Atleti, and you can bet he'll score against Barcelona.
How successful do you think Bale and Havertz are going to be, and will Barca's decisions come back to haunt them?