When Tottenham sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a then world-record fee of £85m in 2013 the club embarked on one of the biggest summer spending sprees in its history.

Seven players were brought in for a combined fee of about £110m to replace the 41 goals and assists the Welshman managed in his final season in north London

Seven years down the line it’s deja-vu for Spurs fans as rumours have emerged linking them to re-signing the 31-year-old.

We all know what happened to Bale in the intervening period but what about the magnificent seven brought in to replace him? Let’s look where the Bale signings are now.

Roberto Soldado

With Harry Kane warming the bench alongside Jamie Vardy in a loan spell at Leicester in 2013/14, many believed Spurs had finally found a replacement for Dimitar Berbatov in Roberto Soldado.

MARBELLA, SPAIN – AUGUST 28: Roberto Soldado of Granada CF in action during a pre season friendly match between Granada CF and Real Valladolid at Marbella Football Center on August 28, 2020 in Marbella, Spain. (Photo by Fermin Rodriguez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Sadly, it never worked out for the Spaniard. Having scored 57 goals in the two seasons before at Valencia he managed just 16 in north London.

Soldado’s confidence never truly recovered. He followed his time at White Hart Lane with underwhelming spells at Villareal and Fenerbahce.

However, in 2019 he returned to Spain to join newly promoted Granada, where he is having something of an Indian summer.

His goals last season helped fire the Andalusian side to the Europa League for the first time in their history.

Etienne Capoue

Capoue never let himself down in his time with Tottenham but at the same time he never truly looked capable of taking the club to the next level.

Watford’s French midfielder Etienne Capoue controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on February 29, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

After just 17 league starts in two seasons, he moved across London to join Watford in 2015.

He has been there since, playing 170 times. His tough-tackling style has seen him become a firm fans’ favourite at Vicarage Road.

The 32-year-old looks set to stay with the Hornets despite their relegation to the Championship.

That will do his reputation in Hertfordshire no harm.

Vlad Chiriches

Despite being one of the better performers in his first season at White Hart Lane, Vlad Chiriches left in 2015 without really making an impact.

REGGIO NELL’EMILIA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 13: Vlad Chiriches of US Sassuolo in action during the Pre-Season Friendly match between US Sassuolo v Pisa SC at Mapei Stadium – Citta’ del Tricolore on September 13, 2020 in Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

At club level that has pretty much been the story of his career since.

He spent four seasons as a squad player for Napoli before going on to fill the same role with Sassuolo last season.

On the international side, however, the Romanian has been far more successful, earning 57 caps.

He recently become captain of his country.



After two underwhelming seasons, Paulinho was voted the worst signing in Spurs history by fans.

Most assumed his career at the top level was over when he joined Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015.

But in one of the most bizarre transfer sagas of modern times, Barcelona spent £36m to bring the Brazilian to Camp Nou at the personal request of Lionel Messi just two years later.

DALIAN, CHINA – AUGUST 04: Paulinho #8 of Guangzhou Evergrande in action during the 2020 Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL) third round match between Shenzhen Kaisa and Guangzhou Evergrande at Dalian Youth Football Training Base on August 4, 2020 in Dalian, Liaoning Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Paulinho had quite a good season, scoring nine goals as Barcelona picked up the league and cup double.

That was to be that, though. In summer 2018 Guangzhou paid £38m to bring him back to China, where he still plays today.

Nacer Chadli

Nacer Chadli only showed brief glimpses of his talent during his three-year stint at Tottenham.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian midfielder Nacer Chadli celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park in south London on January 23, 2016. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / AFP / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

He then made the surprise decision to join Tony Pulis’ West Brom side. Unsurprisingly, Chadli’s mercurial style didn’t sit easy with the former Stoke City boss and he left two seasons later.

After a series of injuries Chadli reinvented himself as a wing-back for the Belgian national team. His form for Roberto Martinez’s side was rewarded with a move to Monaco in 2018.

When that didn’t work out he moved to join Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht and has just joined Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir, where you imagine the 31-year-old will play out the remainder of his career.

Christian Eriksen

In a list filled with transfer flops, Christian Eriksen stands out as the biggest success of the 2013 summer window.

COMO, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 15: Christian Eriksen of FC Internazionale competes for the ball during the Pre-Season Friendly match between FC Internazionale and Lugano at the club’s training ground Suning Training Center in memory of Angelo Moratti on September 15, 2020 in Como, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli – Inter/Inter via Getty Images)

The Dane became Spurs’ record assist-maker in Premier League history and scored 69 goals.

He became integral to Mauricio Pochettino’s side and provided four assists en route to the Champions League final in 2019.

However, his time in north London ended acrimoniously. A contract dispute soured his legacy before he moved to Inter Milan in January.

He has struggled for Antonio Conte’s side and is already being linked with a move away from the San Siro this summer.

Erik Lamela

The last player standing from the post-Bale summer splurge of 2013 is Erik Lamela. He is now their second-longest serving player after Hugo Lloris.

He was the most expensive of all the recruits when he arrived from Roma for about £30m and failed to live up to the hype under both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood.

ENFIELD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 08: Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on September 08, 2020 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Pochettino was able to get more of a tune out of the Argentinian but injuries have robbed Lamela of the opportunity to reach his full potential.

He has managed 33 goals and 47 assists in 222 appearances in north London. A respectable tally, but Spurs fans in 2013 would have hoped for more.

It’s unclear how Bale’s arrival would affect Lamela’s position at the club. With Lucas Moura, Dele Alli, Heung-min Son and Ryan Sessegnon all available on the wings, it’s hard to see him getting much of a look in.

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