Mikel Arteta believes Gareth Bale is still one of the best in the world and his return to Tottenham makes Arsenal’s Premier League aspirations even much harder, while Lampard also spoke gave his view on the Welshman.
Bale touched down at Luton Airport on Friday along with Real Madrid teammate Sergio Reguilon, with both players ready to sign deals with the London side.
The Wales international returns to the club after seven years and will join on a season-long loan – while Real will pay a significant portion of his wages – while Reguilon is a permanent deal.
Although Bale hardly played after the season restarted after a falling out with Zinedine Zidane, Arteta is in no doubt of his quality and believes he will ginger 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 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.’
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On whether Bale’s return makes things more difficult 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.’
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Sunday, Lampard said: ‘Gareth Bale is an incredible player, incredible individual talent, who we remember very well from his days at Tottenham.
‘We’ve also seen from afar the incredible success he’s had a Real Madrid and if he does come to Tottenham – and I keep seeing that it’s virtually going to happen soon – then I think he’s going to be a big addition to their squad, of course.
‘Of course, they’ve got very good individuals at Tottenham, they’re going to be a team that’s expected to challenge in and around the Champions League places and above.
‘They have fantastic individuals and if they get Gareth Bale then they add one for sure. He’s one of the best players in the world in my opinion over the last four or five seasons.’