With the transfer window open until October, it was inevitable that dramatic opening day defeats would be met with reports of big signings but mounting speculation over a Gareth Bale Tottenham return has set pulses racing across the Premier League.
There’s nothing like a poor opening day showing to kill off any optimism for the season and, although Tottenham fans were confident of a fresh start against Everton, they were dealt a serious dose of reality last Sunday, one that suggested the club are in danger of being left behind.
Although the arrivals of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Matt Doherty were meant to strengthen previous weaknesses, the rebuilding project at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is far from complete.
Not to mention, on the evidence of their opening weekend showing against Everton, neither Højbjerg or Doherty set pulses racing. Although it is far too early to consider them anything near a transfer bust, it was not the inspiring debut that they or supporters of the club hoped for.
Of course, it would be unfair to highlight those two players as responsible for Tottenham’s downfall. It is the lacklustre offering in the final third of the pitch that is arguably of greater concern to Jose Mourinho.
At the tail end of last season, it seemed as if ‘Mourinho-ball’ was taking full effect. Far from easy on the eye, more often than not it was earning positive results and, begrudgingly, there was a sense that the ends were justifying the means.
Unfortunately, as a style of football it is something of a double-edged sword. If results start to go against you, the knives from an already fraught fanbase will only be sharpened further.
Just minutes after the final whistle it became evident on social media that all the hope which had been fostered during the off-season, had seemingly dissipated within 90 uninspiring minutes in north London.
With such umbrage being taken at a poor performance, the ire needs to be directed somewhere and, as per usual, the vitriol is saved for club chairman Daniel Levy who was once again accused of penny pinching.
Levy may have opened the purse strings more often in recent times but Spurs’ hunt for an additional striker still continues and, when you consider that Tottenham are the only ‘big six’ entity with only one recognised out and out forward, it beggars belief as to how they keep failing in terms of recruitment.
The failure has caused the club to regress since Mauricio Pochettino’s high watermark of the 2016/17 season. After finishing second to crosstown rivals Chelsea, that would have been the perfect platform to kick on from.
Instead it has been a case of diminishing returns ever since and, with a top four finish being seemingly everything as far as the ownership group ENIC is concerned, a seeming acceptance of mediocrity has created a feeling of malaise within the club.
It has only accelerated in the past few months after Spurs finished sixth last season and they will have to make do with playing midweek European football on Thursdays instead of Wednesday nights as a result.
The Europa League is a difficult cross to bear for Levy but is one that he and the rest of the board would take for a season, especially if Tottenham won the competition. However, on the evidence of their early offerings, the silverware drought looks far from being over just yet.
With that said, if supporters can take any positive from display against Everton, it is that the club have seemingly been jolted into life in their hunt for additional attacking personnel. Enter sensational speculation on a Gareth Bale Tottenham return.
Spurs are reportedly on the verge of snaring the Welsh international and, if he is to depart Real Madrid and return to his former home, it would be the transfer coup that Tottenham fans have all been waiting for.
Those who support the club have been here before. The failed deal for Juventus’ Paulo Dybala makes it understandable that, despite the sense of excitement, it is perhaps slightly muted until the deal is confirmed.
However, if it does get over the line, it will prove a massive boost to the club. The prospect of their 31-year-old former hero linking up with new talisman Harry Kane in attack is enough to get even neutral observers salivating.
When you consider the talent that Bale has at his disposal, it is near criminal that he is not being utilised at the Santiago Bernabeu. Indeed, there have been no winners in the Gareth Bale saga. Although his current wages seems rather eye-watering, especially for frugal Tottenham, there is an increasing feeling that the Gareth Bale Tottenham return is happening.
Whether it is subsidised by the Spanish giants with a large percentage of wages covered by them remains to be seen, just as it is currently unclear whether a loan or permanent transfer is in the offing. However, there does seem to be a growing appetite for a return to his former employers.
Could this be the shot in the arm that Tottenham need? Well they certainly need something and if they can serve up such a statement of intent, there is plenty of time to put such a bad start behind them.
With the transfer window closing in just under three weeks, there is no frenetic rush to get the deal completed. However, now the genie is out of the bottle and a move has been mooted, the last thing Tottenham want is to be beaten to the punch.
Even the mere rumous of a potential Gareth Bale Tottenham return has got social media ablaze and, if a deal were to be completed, it would arguably the signing of the summer. Now Tottenham fans will be keeping everything crossed, as they hope the Prince of Wales returns to become King.
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