How Tottenham Hotspur bought five flops with €100m Gareth Bale money

Martin Macdonald
How Tottenham Hotspur bought five flops with €100m Gareth Bale money

In the summer of 2013 Real Madrid made Gareth Bale the most expensive player in history at the time with his £85.3 million (€100m) purchase from Tottenham Hotspur.

Bale had developed into one of the star players in the Premier League in the seasons prior to the move, and although Spurs did not want to let him go, with chairman Daniel Levy playing hardball in negotiations, they eventually caved at the prospect of having a war chest to rebuild their squad.

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Andre Villas-Boas was in charge at the time, and his eyes lit up at the transfer kitty.

Seven new players were purchased with the Gareth Bale money with Christian Eriksen proving a hit and Erik Lamela doing okay, but five of them turned out to be flops.


Etienne Capoue – £10m from Toulouse

Etienne Capou was brought in to add steel and athleticism to the Tottenham midfield and although he has those two talents, he was severely lacking within the rest of his game.

The Frenchman was by no means terrible at White Hart Lane, but usually struggled to get a good cohesion going with his team-mates which meant his form was constantly up and down.

He would only last two seasons at the club before being sold to Watford at a loss.

How Tottenham Hotspur bought five flops with €100m Gareth Bale money

How Tottenham Hotspur bought five flops with €100m Gareth Bale money

Nacer Chadli – £7.4m from Twente

Nacer Chadli was simply a good player but never good enough for the likes of Tottenham.

He spent three years in North London and was often in and out of the team in the wing roles, vying for time against the likes of Lamela, Aaron Lennon, and Andros Townsend.

In 119 starts for the club he scored 25 goals. He would eventually be sold at a big profit to West Brom, who made him their record signing.

Vlad Chiriches – £8.5m from Steaua Bucharest

The sale of Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest to Tottenham was, at the time, a record for the Romanian top flight.

His career with Spurs started pretty well too as he was named Man of the Man in his Premier League debut in a win against Aston Villa. But he was unable to keep up the good performances and would go on to make just 27 league appearances over the next two seasons.

He never really looked up to the task of playing in the Premier League, and was eventually shipped off to Napoli who have since sold him too.

How Tottenham Hotspur bought five flops with €100m Gareth Bale money

How Tottenham Hotspur bought five flops with €100m Gareth Bale money

Paulinho – £18m from Corinthians

The acquisition of any Brazilian midfielder straight from South America is sure to get the pulses racing at any club, but Paulinho was more at the Kleberson side of things that Fabinho.

The problem Paulinho had at Spurs is that he struggled to find his true position or role within the team. He is a box-to-box midfielder by trade and so needs to contribute in attack and defence, but never had the positional ability to screen his own defence and would go on to score just 10 goals in two seasons.

He eventually left for China, then Barcelona, and then China again

Roberto Soldado – £26m from Valencia

Just over £26m was spent on Spanish striker Roberto Soldado, who was earmarked as the club’s new starting number nine.

He scored the winning goal on his debut from the penalty spot against Crystal Palace, but this would not be a sign of positive things to come.

In his debut campaign with Spurs he only scored six times in the Premier League, with four of those goals coming from the penalty spot. He would ultimately leave the club for Villarreal after a record of 16 goals in 76 appearances.