Are Spurs and Liverpool strong enough to keep Bale and Suarez?

27May 2013

England - Premier League


Real Madrid have got eyes on two of the Premier League's biggest stars in Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez. Ralph Ellis fears for our football if they get their way - but sees a chance to make some money in the meantime...


"Golaço". If you're around the age of 30 or above you're immediately transported back to Saturday mornings and Football Italia on Channel Four. You'll think of James Richardson sipping coffee at a pavement café, of Gazza, of brilliant games with vibrant passion. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Italian football was the place to be.


I remember getting sent to Pisa to do a feature with Paul Elliott. The idea was to give England manager Bobby Robson a nudge about how well the centre-half was playing in what was Europe's best league, and we chose a home fixture against AC Milan as the ideal one to cover.


It didn't quite work out. Poor Paul got run ragged by Marco Van Basten who scored a hat-trick, and with Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard pulling the strings it was hardly surprising. We ate at a smashing restaurant near the leaning tower in the evening, and he could just about raise a smile about it, before talking with passion about how the riches of Italian football had lured all the top players to make it the best competition in the Continent.


Fast forward to Italy now, and Serie A has been left trailing. Their clubs failed to move with the times, the crowds are down, and they struggle to sell their TV rights abroad for big money. Much of the glamour has gone.


It's a lesson the Premier League needs to heed as we enter the summer. Bayern Munich's triumph over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday night doesn't necessarily mean the Germans have now got the best domestic league, but it rather suggests they are getting there. And their ability to entice Pep Guardiola to work in Munich, and give him Dortmund's two best players in Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski, should also raise concern.


Word this morning is that another top star who might have been coming to the Premier League is now going elsewhere. Monaco are in the process of finalising a £51million deal to take Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid. Chelsea and Manchester City have both been linked with him but can't compete with the tax free riches of the principality.


Meanwhile Real Madrid are being heavily linked with both Gareth Bale at Tottenham and Liverpool's Luis Suarez. If both clubs didn't already have enough problems making sure they hang on to their star goalscorer against the Champions League sides in this country, then huge money from Spain will make it tougher.


At the moment both clubs insist they won't sell. The 'Yes' option in the Bale to Stay market is currently between 1.31 and 1.62, while for Suarez to Stay it is from 1.46 to 1.7. Both of those could be worth laying now - not necessarily because they will end up moving, but because across the summer the gossip and speculation won't go away and there will be times when those prices move to odds-against.


Spurs and Liverpool are both run by regimes who are trying to find sustainable financial models. They don't have the wealthy backers of Chelsea or Manchester City, or the vast commercial resources of Manchester United. The biggest clubs in Europe will look at that and believe they may not withstand mega-money offers.


For the good of English football we have to hope they are wrong. Too many top players have already left the Premier League - just think of Arjen Robben as the Champions League final hero who was at Chelsea not so very long ago. Nobody wants English football's best days to end up as just a rosy memory like Football Italia.



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Keywords: Spurs, Liverpool, Bale, Suarez

Source: Betfair

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