James Maddison, the 26-year-old England midfielder, is embarking on a new journey after signing with Tottenham just yesterday. Yet, the ecstasy of the £40 million deal, which will keep him in the club until 2028, may be short-lived as he braces for potential storm clouds on his horizon.
The midfielder, returning to the Premiership after a stint with Leicester City, might face a frosty welcome at his new club. The controversy stems from past social media posts, dating back to 2012 and 2013, where Maddison openly disparaged both Tottenham and then-forward Gareth Bale.
"I hate Gareth Bale with a passion, calm down you monkey, [Jack] Wilshere is 10x better than you chimpanzee," he tweeted in November 2012. His obvious animosity didn't end there. A few months later, Maddison went on to express his support for Liverpool in a match against Tottenham, stating, "Hope Luis Suarez destroys Tottenham today, don't like Spurs!
Especially that monkey everyone's on about!"
When Past Actions Haunt the Present
These comments, made years ago, had faded into oblivion until the shrewd scrutiny of fans recently dredged them back up.
Although Maddison hastily deleted the offending posts, his attempts at damage control might have come too late. The player now faces the daunting task of mitigating the backlash from fans and teammates alike. It's important to note that a lot has changed since the time those tweets were made.
Gareth Bale, the subject of Maddison's former disdain, is no longer a part of Tottenham, having left the club years ago. Maddison himself has evolved as a player, showcasing his skills in Leicester City before they faced relegation.
He now returns to the Premiership with the opportunity to start anew, albeit under potentially strained circumstances. There's no question that Maddison's actions from a decade ago will cast a shadow over his transition into Tottenham.
How he chooses to navigate this controversy - with humility, remorse, or defiance - will likely define his initial tenure with the club.