James Lawton: Tottenham face a paradox this summer - can they afford to sell Gareth Bale?

The Welshman is the most dynamic footballer produced in Britain since George Best

It has been evident for some years now that Gareth Bale is in possession of the most dynamic football talent produced in these islands since the birth of George Best.

Yes, of course there have been other extraordinary eruptions of native flair. Paul Gascoigne had a haunting, sometimes even divine touch. The young Wayne Rooney persuaded Arsène Wenger, among many others, that he was potentially the best English player he had ever seen. The early announcement of Ryan Giggs that he was world class has been sustained with extraordinary consistency and maybe it is a road Jack Wilshere is set to follow.

Yet since the stunning virtuosity of Best has anyone quite matched the easy, stunning power of the 23-year-old from Cardiff?

His eighth goal in his last six games was so destructively brilliant it lifted even the gnarled old competitive heart of West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce out of the trenches long enough for him to announce that no club currently have a bigger debt to a single player than Tottenham Hotspur do to Bale.

Even as the beaten Allardyce offered his tribute, bookmakers were installing Bale as the runaway favourite in the race for player of the year, pushing him comfortably ahead of such formidable rivals as Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Juan Mata and Michu. Van Persie, who has already virtually delivered the title to his new club Manchester United, is merely 6-4 against. Bale is odds on at 8-13.

However, if Bale has just about annexed the betting market, far more intriguing is the effect of his deeds on the thinking of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

The Spurs chief has, of course, been making giant strides away from the angst which came with what some deemed his shabby treatment of Tottenham's former manager Harry Redknapp.

Andre Villas-Boas has put the agonies of his Stamford Bridge tenure behind him as his new club have overtaken Chelsea and put Arsenal in their slipstream in the race for Champions League qualification. The sales last summer of such apparently vital figures as Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart have been effortlessly absorbed in the rise and rise of the powerful Mousa Dembélé.

Levy, previously known most for his hard financial dealing, is living a football statesman's dream.

But then how comfortably can he enjoy his success under the weight of what is certain to be the biggest decision of his reign at White Hart Lane?

Real Madrid and Barcelona are the leading admirers of Bale and both are said to be willing to enshrine his finishing power in offers of more than £50m. We are also told that Levy had made it clear that such a figure would constitute no more than an opening gambit.

Paradoxically, though, the most haunting question for Levy is whether he can afford to sell Bale.

For the buoyancy of AVB's team – and their growing potential to challenge at the top of English football and perhaps move beyond the initially brilliant impact of Redknapp's men on the Champions League two seasons ago – the loss of Bale would not be so much an amputation as an evisceration.

Bale, plainly, has become the heart and the soul and the ferocious striking arm of a club who have reason to believe they are finally back in touch with some of their old glory.

For Real, the lure of Bale is especially dazzling when they imagine the level of power that he would bring alongside that of Cristiano Ronaldo – or replace if relations between the club and the supernova worsen. Barça's mouth-watering prospect is of releasing the Welshman's devastating finishing on defences already raddled by the axis of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

What is beyond question now is Bale's ability to sustain the impact he made so dramatically in that first rush into Europe as a 21-year-old. He ransacked Internazionale at San Siro with a second-half hat-trick and in the return game at White Hart Lane he tormented the celebrated Maicon and his bemused coach Rafa Benitez.

Luis Figo, former world player of the year, sat on the Inter bench in a degree of shock, murmuring to Redknapp as they left the field, "Bale is amazing, he has killed us twice – he is impossible to contain."

For a little while recently some doubted the force of his momentum. There were criticisms of his tendency to dive out of tackles, question-marks against his long-term resolve to live under the harshest pressure. Such apprehension seems quaint now, not least to his coach. "When the ball leaves his boot it is incredible, he is a great, great talent and to see him keep on trying until the last minute exemplifies his talent," said Villas-Boas before endorsing him as a sure-fire player of the year.

No doubt he will be making the point even more eloquently, not to say desperately, to his chairman.

Award odds

For PFA Player of the Year 2012-13:

8/13 G Bale (Spurs)

6/4 R van Persie (Man United)

25/1 L Suarez (Liverpool)

40/1 J Mata (Chelsea), Michu (Swa)

Flying Welshman: Bale in numbers

19 Goals scored by Gareth Bale for Tottenham this season – seven more than his previous best total

10 Matches since Tottenham last won without Bale scoring - a 3-1 victory over Reading on New Year's Day

£5m Initial amount paid by Spurs to Southampton for Bale in 2007 – with £2m following a year later

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape