Gareth Bale is being linked with another return to Tottenham Hotspur this summer, with his departure from Real Madrid confirmed.
Bale’s contract at Los Blancos expires at the end of June, following nine years in the Spanish capital, with the Welshman winning many trophies including five Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles. The Welshman did return to Spurs on a season-long loan deal in the 2020/21 season, making 34 appearances in all competitions.
But despite speculation linking him with another return to Spurs this summer, football.london understands that there is a feeling from both within the Bale’s camp and inside Spurs’ that another return to the club is unlikely at this point.
So, how would Bale perform at Spurs if he did return for the 2022/23 season? We simulated next season to find out.
We ‘signed’ Gareth Bale for Tottenham next season
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Bale to join Tottenham in the upcoming summer transfer window, using FM22 to run the simulation. We also updated the Spurs squad and included all the latest confirmed incoming and outgoings. Here’s how Bale got on in 2022/23 for Spurs under Antonio Conte.
Predictably, Bale struggled with injuries, and subsequently match fitness, throughout the season. With Conte’s tactical system needing players with high energy who can press from the front across the entire 90 minutes, even when Bale was fit, he was used sparingly by the Italian manager.
Overall, Bale made only nine appearances for Spurs throughout the entire season, starting only two Premier League games and making two substitute appearances in the Champions League. In those nine appearances, Bale scored three times and registered two assists.
The Welshman suffered various injuries throughout the campaign, including a torn calf, a pulled hamstring, an Achilles injury and more, keeping him out of action for almost 14 weeks overall.
At the end of every season, Football Manager 2022 puts together an overall best XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics. Here’s what Spurs’ 2022/23 best XI looked like.
Full Tottenham best XI in 2022/23 (5-2-3): Lloris; Doherty, Dier, Tarkowski, Sanchez, Perisic; Bentancur, Kessie; Kulusevski, Kane, Son.
New signings Perisic, Tarkowski and Kessie all fitted straight into the best XI, with Cristian Romero absent due to his injury issues. Bale also did not make the team, for obvious reasons.
So, how did Spurs perform in the league and cup competitions after signing Bale?
Tottenham’s results from the 2022/23 simulation with Bale
Unfortunately, Tottenham regressed in terms of their Premier League performance, with Spurs not strengthening their squad enough to compete across all competitions.
Conte’s side could only manage a sixth-place finish in the Premier League, with their local rivals Arsenal finishing above them. Compared to their 2021/22 campaign, Spurs were three points worse off and scored fewer goals, despite being better defensively.
In the cup competitions, Tottenham reached the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup, the semi-final of the FA Cup and the quarter-final of the Champions League. Arsenal signing Eran Zahavi scored twice in the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Spurs in the FA Cup, whilst Chelsea inflicted a 3-0 home defeat in the Champions League, following Rodrigo Bentancur’s red card.
Overall, this 2022/23 season simulation predicts that should Bale return to Spurs for another spell, it could be a bad move for both parties, particularly with Conte’s side needing to excel in the transfer market in order to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. Bale wouldn’t suit Spurs’ style under Conte, and may be better off looking at other options this summer, despite the obvious temptation of re-signing such a popular player.
Do you think Spurs should sign Gareth Bale this summer?