Mikel Arteta believes Gareth Bale is still one of the best players in the world and his return to Tottenham makes Arsenal’s Premier League aspirations even harder to achieve.
The Wales international touched down at Luton Airport on Friday afternoon along with Real Madrid teammate Sergio Reguilon, with both players ready to put pen to paper on deals with Spurs.
Bale returns to the club after seven years and will join on a season-long loan – with Real picking up a significant portion of his wages – while Reguilon is a permanent deal.
Although Bale hardly played after the La Liga season restarted following a falling out with Zinedine Zidane, Arsenal boss Arteta is in no doubt about his quality and believes he will enhance the competitiveness of the Premier League.
‘The Premier League in its history has always had the best players in the world,’ said the Spaniard at his pre-match press conference before facing West Ham on Saturday.
‘I think Gareth has been one of the most significant names that left the Premier League years ago to go to Spain. ‘So I think it’s really positive to bring really important players back to the league and it will be a challenge because we know at his best what he can do.’
On whether Bale’s return makes life harder for Arsenal, he added: ‘I think the competition from every club, the way they are recruiting and improving their squad, is making this league harder and harder.’
Arteta is not the only Arsenal man who believes Bale will be a big success back at north London rivals Tottenham, with club legend Ian Wright saying the deal is huge for Spurs. ‘His ability is undoubted and the Spurs fans should be excited, simply because of the lift it will give them,’ he told Premier League Productions.
‘It’s no different to what [Arsenal] have got with our talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He was their main man and if he comes back and has any kind of impact like that, it’s not only going to give the fans a lift but the dressing room.
‘I think it’s a dressing room that needs a lift as well. For him to come in, it will give the kind of boost that Tottenham really need at this stage of the season.’ Asked where Spurs will finish the season, he added: ‘One place below Arsenal! No, with Gareth Bale on form they can easily get in the top four.’