When Gareth Bale finally received his hero’s welcome to Tottenham, it left fans drooling at the prospect of the Welshman picking up where he left off.
After seven years of experience on the bench at Real Madrid, the Welshman has all the tools he needs to forge a success upon his return to North London. A state-of-the-art training ground, a new £ 1 billion stadium, one of the most famous managers of all time – and two forwards ready to form a deadly trio with him.
Bale will be in line for his second debut against West Ham on Sunday, and if all goes according to plan, Jose Mourinho will have the luxury of deploying him alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – an offensive unit that could be the best that could be. the Premier League has. to offer. At least on paper.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (left) prepare to form an offensive trio with Gareth Bale
Of course, they have a way to go before they prove it. Liverpool’s attacking power of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah shredded defenders on their way to a cracking Premier League triumph last season.
On the other hand, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola could also argue that Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne cannot be matched by any team in the world if they are all number one.
But if Mourinho does this right, he may indeed have something special on his hands. And the pressure is already high – former boss Harry Redknapp has tipped the trio to take them to the Premier League title, while former icon Dimitar Berbatov admits they are a ‘scary’ prospect.
Jose Mourinho has focused on the counterattack this season, which could play an important role in the form of the three players.
Should all three be fit for Sunday’s derby it will be fascinating to see how they sync with each other and we may have already seen the groundwork laid for their line-up.
Kane’s role at Tottenham has been constantly evolving since he announced himself on the top scene in 2014. In his breakthrough 2014-15 season, he was pretty much everywhere. He fell into the holes, rushed high on the field and scored from a number of different positions under Mauricio Pochettino’s gegenpress system.
Later we saw him push more and focus on a goal-getter, but since Mourinho’s arrival, there are clear indications that the Portuguese boss sees a different role for his star player. His six assists this season – more than his four goals – are an anomaly, but no coincidence.
A virtuoso performance against Southampton saw him sit much deeper – almost like a false nine – picking Son Heung-min over and over, giving the brave South Korean star four goals at St Mary’s as Spurs rumbled to a 5-2 win.
The English attacker dropped a little deeper and became the maker for his teammates
He already has a relationship with Son on the field, with 24 goal combinations between them
Kane could keep falling deeper, with Bale on the right and pushing high with Son to stretch the defense
We know that a side of Jose Mourinho likes to hit teams on the counter-attack, and it worked out a treat in their last game when they struck Manchester United another heavy defeat.
Kane, who scored twice and grabbed an assist, went deeper again at Old Trafford, with Son and Erik Lamela moving up higher and stretching their backline.
Son, who has also grabbed a brace, has developed a special relationship with Kane on his own. The duo have the most goal contributions between two top-tier players since 2015 with 24. In the Southampton game, Kane became the first player to assist four goals from the same team-mate. When Bale is brought in on this team, Mourinho has to make sure that he adds – not takes away from – that relationship.
Spurs fans used to shout, ‘He’s playing on the left’ when their beloved Welshman was deployed elsewhere, but he will likely fall into that right wing taken by Lamela last time – another outlet for Kane to choose from. His pace combined with Son can really give defenders a handful on the counter.
Bale’s versatility will be crucial, and he’s still got enough speed to cause the opposition trouble
He played in a number of positions for Real Madrid and enjoyed a spell behind the striker
The 31-year-old’s ability to play anywhere in an offensive four play in Mourinho’s hands gives Spurs some flexibility. Bale’s coming of age season in 2012-13 – his last for Tottenham before his £ 85 million move to Madrid – saw him play behind the striker a handful of times. He’s also done it a number of times for Los Blancos, especially under Rafa Benitez, who tried to use his speed to push from deep forward and exploit gaps in midfield.
We know Bale is a skilled goalscorer, often as a center forward for Wales, but he is capable of swinging in an expert delivery and has the vision to unlock defense.
As he turns thirties his ability to perform blood-curdling runs will begin to fade, so the possibility of him swapping with Kane as the deep-lying attacker should also be explored.
Bale is able to switch with Kane as a striker and fall deep into the eye
Kane’s role under Mourinho has changed and his target rate may be affected
It allows Kane to hang out with the fast son every now and then and make sure his scoring speed isn’t hit too much. The England captain is chasing Alan Shearer’s record of 260 Premier League goals and still standing 114 of that milestone.
Spurs have tried to tease Bale’s return by showing photos of him in training and clips of him curling photos in the top corner. But let’s not forget that this is a player whose confidence has taken a big dent.
Outcast by Zinedine Zidane, slammed by the media, unappreciated by fans. It may not immediately click for him at Tottenham, and his fitness record leaves a lot to be desired. He played the full 90 for Wales in early September, after which he sustained a knee injury, a problem that kept him out of the game for long periods last season.
Not many strike couples are in better shape than Kane and Son, which can only help Bale
Spurs were terribly lucky with injuries last season, losing to Kane for four months, while Son also served part of the campaign. The club’s medical team, given his track record, will be happy to avoid similar things to Bale – and avoid Mourinho’s wrath as he strives to get his new three forwards together.
It may take a while for players to develop understanding, so no one should expect fireworks right away. But there is undoubtedly potential for greatness, and Mourinho’s counterattack system could be the key to unlocking it.
We’ve had MSN for Messi, Suarez and Neymar, BBC for Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo. All the pieces fall into place so that BKS dominates the next.