Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid’s sporting director, has admitted Real Madrid will have to break the world transfer record to sign Gareth Bale. The Tottenham winger has been heavily linked with a move to the Spanish capital with Madrid reportedly lining up a bid of £85million and Zidane said: ‘If any club is going to tempt Spurs, then it will take big money – maybe even record-breaking money. That would smash the £80m they paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago.
Gareth Bale is an excellent player but is he worth £85million? I doubt that.
He has scored 21 league goals and assisted with 4 other goals (26 goals and 10 assists in all competitions). He is 23 years old and has no experience in a really big team or a big football nation (Like Ronaldo).
Statistically, he is not one of the best creators in the Premier League. David Silva, Leighton Baines, Santi Cazorla, Steven Gerrard have created almost twice as much scoring chances than Bale. Steven Pienaar, Rickie Lambert, Aaron Lennon, Adel Taarabt and Juan Mata have also created more than Bale. I’m not saying they are better players than Bale, the statistics show they created more than him.
I’d like now to focus on Juan Mata, According to the Metro, Real Madrid are considering bringing back Mata, who is their academy product, for about £30million – about £55million less than what Bale will cost them.
Mata is only two years older than the Welshman but has a lot more experience in The Champions League, in La Liga, in big clubs, in international football and in winning trophies. And, according to the statistics, he is not only a better creator than Bale, he is a more efficient dribbler than Bale (41% success rate to Bale’s 37%), he is a better passer (86% success rate to Bale’s 78%) and he he has a better conversion rate (27% to Bale’s 17%).
The bottom line is that Mata has better numbers than Bale (21 goals and 29 assists in all competitions) but Bale cost will be almost 3 times higher for Real Madrid.
Why is that? In Soccernomics, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski demonstrate, the transfer market is full of obvious irrationalities. For example, scouts over-report blonde players — who stand out and stick in the mind better than other players.
I think that Bale is a “blonde” in that sense. His speed and powerful shots confuse his suitors. He reminds them of a younger Cristiano Ronaldo (who is an extremely efficient football machine) and his looks, abs and hair make them feel he is “born to play for Real Madrid” – as Real’s president Florentino Perez said.
However, Mata will probably add more to Real Madrid than Bale. And he was actually born to play for Real Madrid. He is Spanish, he grew up in Real Madrid Castilla, he would add another dimension to Real’s fast and powerful forward line and he is a much cheaper option than Bale.
If the transfer market made any sense, Real Madrid would have focused on bringing Mata to the Santiago Bernabéu.
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