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Not much has changed, Gareth

Bale, having gone away and won a lot of stuff, can now return to White Hart Lane cosy in the knowledge that he hasn’t missed much

17 September, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Richard Osley: ‘Allowing Emi Martinez to leave could turn out to be a self-inflicted wound’

AT this time of year, when players are zipping from one club to another, it won’t be long before Tottenham’s Daniel Levy is described as a “shrewd operator”, or we are told repeatedly that he is famous for driving a hard bargain.

And, fair’s fair, we know from the watching Amazon documentary, All Or Nothing, (nothing, as it turns out), he can be a clinical chairman.

There he was in the programme, sitting in the lunch room, dispelling Danny Rose’s strange confusion that AC Milan might be interested in signing him… rather than Bournemouth.

If he had not burned through such an extensive cast of managers in recent years, each presumably needing severance payments, then the stories of Levy’s master negotiation would be platinum-plated.

Hey ho, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt as he approaches touchdown in a mission to re-sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, a deal which gathered pace so quickly that you can only imagine what Harry Kane was thinking aloud about his future in the dressing room after an opening-day defeat to Everton.

Bale, having gone away and won a lot of stuff, can now return to White Hart Lane cosy in the knowledge that he hasn’t missed much… apart from the construction of a new stadium which nobody can go to and a Champions League final which, like a [an inappropriate remark has been removed from this text by the editor], was over in a couple of seconds. And the sacking of lots of managers.

Of course, it’s easy to puzzle at Spurs’ managerial roundabout and the Vincent Janssen days, but yes, yes; there’s also Arsenal, the club with a million players, practically bursting at the seams with defenders and midfielders, not many of whom are in anybody’s fantasy football teams.

We can have confidence that Mikel Arteta is capable of sorting it all out, even if allowing the FA Cup hero goalkeeper Emi Martinez to leave – just when it seemed the team had finally found an aerial presence in the goal – could turn out to be a self-inflicted wound.

Arteta’s reforms, however, cannot mask the fateful decision to offer Mesut Ozil £350,000-a-week, which would be huge even if he was playing.

The fact he is not on the field, and nobody seems to want to relieve the burden by taking him off Arsenal’s hands is worse than any of Levy’s Soldado-esque gambles.

Less of a punt is getting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to sign a new contract. He was cast as a bit of a troublemaker in Germany but in London he’s been a star. You don’t have to be shrewd to know how much Arsenal need him.

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