Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two months, you’ll know that Real Madrid want Gareth Bale.

The Tottenham midfielder enjoyed a stunning 2012-13 English Premier League season, netting 21 goals as he dragged his team single-handedly through the mud and into fifth place.

Those feats did not go unnoticed, and now los Blancos are sniffing around: With the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo not extending his contract at the Bernabeu, Florentino Perez is looking seriously at a world-record deal for the Welshman as a long-term replacement.

Daniel Levy will not be sanctioning a sale unless it smashes the bar previously set by Ronaldo, putting the Lilywhites’ names in the history books. If Madrid are willing to part with the cash—£81 million or more—who can Spurs purchase to rebuild their side?

Take Your Pick

There have been worldwide suggestions that Spurs would be able to pick a player in the Real Madrid ranks and have him included in the deal for Bale.

The names most commonly suggested are Fabio Coentrao, Luka Modric, Alvaro Morata and Angel Di Maria.

It’s an intriguing bunch, and while not all fit the bill, Levy would stand to gain some serious quality and/or firepower should he opt for a player plus cash.

The best signing in terms of filling a need would be Coentrao, a Portuguese international who feels he’s simply not wanted in this Blancos era. He’s shown himself to be extremely tenacious and defensively-orientated on international duty and represents a major step up from the underperforming Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Modric would be welcomed back to White Hart Lane despite an acrimonious 12 months between expected departure and actual sale, and it’s safe to say Spurs wouldn’t marginalise their former prodigy in the way Madrid have in the past—they’d value him.

Di Maria has suggested he’s not keen on the move, while Morata is perhaps unnecessary given the fact that Spurs have wrapped up a €30 million deal for Roberto Soldado.

Adding in a player is a way of keeping the cash payment down, but Levy’s a tough negotiator: There’s every chance Bale will cost the world-record fee and a player or two.

Who Else Is On the Market?

It’s important to note that once you’ve just sold a player for a world record fee, every other club becomes quite aware that you have stacks of cash.

That results in an immediate price bump at the start of negotiations, meaning a £2 million player costs £4 million and a £6 million player costs £10 million.

A star player to replace Bale would become a primary need, and to find someone who can have a similar level of impact would be close to impossible.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea et al still punch at a weight above Spurs in terms of UEFA Champions League football and wage structures, so most of the established top players are off limits.

Even Daniele De Rossi, who won’t be playing any European football this season, would likely not be tempted to leave his beloved Roma for White Hart Lane.

Adem Ljajic has Champions League football, Ganso represents a serious risk in terms of investment given his drop-off in form and production and FC Porto would demand one hell of a price for any player.

So they’d need to get a little more inventive, and look at fast-rising names who haven’t quite reached the cream of the crop just yet.

There are few more exciting players in world football than Erik Lamela, currently plying his trade alongside De Rossi in Rome.

He’d be the perfect tonic for losing Bale, and many believe the Argentine will go on to become one of the very best in the game. His mazy dribbling and raw pace give full-backs nightmares, while his technical capacity allows him to play anywhere across the midfield three and even as a false-nine.

Fellow Giallorossi Miralem Pjanic would be ideal for a central berth, Hernanes of Lazio too would be a wonderful midfield enforcer. Mathieu Valbuena of Marseille ended the season in fantastic form and he, too, could significantly improve the squad.

There are dozens of clubs that Spurs could essentially take their pick from, swooping for some of the brightest talents and potentially treading water for a year while they gel. A haul of Lamela, Valbuena, and Modric would more than make up for the loss of Bale, and make Andre Villas-Boas’ side a well-rounded, well-stocked machine.

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