Gareth Bale burst onto the professional scene with Southampton as a marauding left-back with a viciously potent set-piece and a wand of a left foot. Now he is regarded as potentially the most in-form footballer in the world and a feared inside forward capable of scoring all manner of goals for Tottenham Hotspur.
Seems like a very successful progression. But somewhere in between there was a stage where he was indicative of Tottenham’s failings in the transfer market; a scrawny left-sided player without a position who was a curse upon the Tottenham team.
Indeed it took Bale two years, 25 Premier League games, three managers and 1,533 minutes to earn a win while in the Spurs team when he came on as an 84th minute substitute for Aaron Lennon in a 5-0 victory against Burnley in September 2009.
Now not only is he playing in winning teams but he himself is often the match-winner; if you don’t believe me you can ask the fans of West Brom, Newcastle United or Lyon who have all found this out to their peril in recent weeks.
During that troubled time however it appeared Spurs were tempted to give up on the talented player with talk of a move to Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho potentially on the horizon while Birmingham City and West Ham also had their names tentatively linked with his signature.
Although the most extraordinary deal was the one Nottingham Forest managed to put together. With Welsh international team-mates and Forest gunning for the play-offs under Billy Davies in his previous stint at the City Ground it was reported in January 2009 that the now late Nigel Doughty had green-lighted a mega-money move to try and tempt Bale down to Championship football.
As it was the deal never came about. The plan was to bring him in on loan until the end of the season when, all things going well, Forest would have been promoted and Bale could have been signed permanently. But Bale turned down the move determined to prove himself at Spurs.
Do you think he might have just about done that?
image: © andybrannan