Where do you stand on the Gareth Bale story? The media has been full of rumours and speculation on his future plans for the past months and as each day passes, the story intensifies with expectation of a move from Tottenham to Real Madrid.
Spurs’ problem started in May when they failed to secure Champions League football after the outstanding performances Gareth Bale had produced last season. The previous summer Bale had agreed to sign a new contract which brought an early end to any transfer speculation and left Real Madrid to focus on prising Luka Modric from Tottenham. Spurs were hoping that with an improved salary offer they could persuade him to do the same again this year and as Bale had a good relationship with AVB and had developed under the young manager, it was hoped that that would be an added reason for him to stay at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham don’t want to sell Bale and discouraged any talk of him leaving. Now in late-July as the pressure intensifies Spurs, through AVB, have said that negotiations are on-going with his agent concerning an improved contract. Everything is very tense with every word being scrutinised for hidden meaning and only this week while in Hong Kong, AVB said,
“Talks are ongoing but that doesn’t mean there is an agreement….He is a special player and he had a wonderful season last year………We are speaking with his agent about possible improvements to his contract.”
Even while Spurs were making these comments the media in Spain were publishing contradictory stories, favouring Real Madrid’s approaches for the player. With Bale having missed the last three pre-season matches due to an injury picked up in training, it has raised questions in the minds of Tottenham fans as to what is the real reason for his absence.
Villas-Boas has tried to re-assure everyone with news that Bale is due to re-start training with the squad next week and could be ready for the match against Monaco next Saturday. His remarks were reported in this tweet:
“He is going to be fit to join the team for training on Wednesday. There is a big possibility he could be fit for Monaco." – AVB on Bale.
— Addicted to Spurs (@AddictedtoSpurs) July 27, 2013
The Spanish club raided Tottenham last year to sign Modric and their intentions for this year have been clear for some months. Zinedine Zidane, their Ambassador and now assistant to the new manager Carlo Ancelotti, has taken every opportunity to comment on Bale and how he would be an ideal player for Real. Modric has also expressed his views on how his former team mate would fit into the style of play at his current club and the Spanish press have kept the speculation alive with regular headlines supporting Real’s desire to take Gareth Bale from Spurs. The Spanish media also courted Bale’s agent who was interviewed on Spanish television earlier in the summer.
There had been a lull after earlier speculation but in the past week Marca have gone into overdrive regarding the story. On Tuesday they wrote that Bale had told Daniel Levy that he wanted to play for Real Madrid and followed it up on Wednesday with reported details of a row between the player and Chairman, Daniel Levy. The speculation continues with the British press printing reports of story as presented by Marca, a newspaper which frequently reports pro-Real propaganda. The Sun reported the comments attributed to Bale by Marca,
“You made me a promise. You promised me if we didn’t qualify for the Champions League and a good offer turned up you’d listen to it. Well that offer has arrived and I want to play for Real Madrid. So keep your word and negotiate.”
Real Madrid’s intention is clear to wear everyone down with incessant media speculation and rumour to unsettle Bale so that when they do make a bid, Spurs will be in a position where they have a disgruntled player on their hands and they have to decide which is the best option – keep an unhappy player and force him to see out another year of his contract as they did with Modric in 2011 or sell him when an acceptable offer is received.
Today’s back page headline in the Mail on Sunday claims that Tottenham have refused an offer of £82m from Real Madrid, in The Observer the offer is £86m and in both reports Bale has been left distraught.
One thing is certain, that Real won’t ease up on the media pressure, they used the tactic successfully on many previous occasions and will do their utmost to ensure Bale is at the Bernabeu next season. And now just to push home the point, Zidane has his say once again as the responsible face of Real with comments about the club’s continuing interest in Bale and making their approach in the proper way.
Zidane: “We have not given up on Gareth Bale it is impossible to give up a player of that quality." #THFC
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) July 28, 2013
Gareth Bale’s View
Bale’s performances last season raised his profile even more than it had been – he was already a target of the top clubs but this only increased with each incredible goal he scored for Tottenham and Wales in the past twelve months.
The one view that none of us know is that of Gareth Bale and it is the most important. Bale is an ambitious young man and wants to play at the highest level and has also said of wanting to play for Real Madrid at some point in his career. Norman Giller, the renowned journalist and writer, regularly reminds us of this comment by a young Bale.
I've often reported here how @GarethBale11 said when he was 16: "My ambition is to play for Real Madrid." Madrid papers report a done deal.
— UncleNormanGiller (@NormanGiller) July 23, 2013
What Bale is thinking at this precise moment no-one knows. From his perspective, he realises that he has had an exceptional season and that now may be the moment to cash in. He has ambitions to play at the highest level, to be in the Champions League with a top club so now may be the time to move on. If he were to wait for another year an injury could have put him out and he may have missed the opportunity.
It is only when Bale comments that we will know whether we can look forward to another season of Bale at White Hart Lane or have to become accustomed to a team without his inspiration and magical touch.
I had been quite hopeful that he would stay but I’m not so sure now. A comment by a poster on a messageboard summed up my view on Tottenham without Bale. Alex said,
“I will feel something special has been taken away from us as fans. Players like Modric can be replaced to an extent. A player that terrifies every team we play, a player who no team on the planet can live with, who just by him being on the pitch ***** other teams.
Bale is truly world class and the thought of having him for another season means a lot – he’s probably more or less on par with Ronaldo – and we created that.
He deserves to play for whoever the best team in the world are, we deserve £100m for him… in the end I think Spurs, Real Madrid and Bale will be happy with the inevitable. but its such a shame we probably wont get more of the raping West Ham with a wonder goal, tearing up United at Old Trafford etc.. We get so few of these players these days.
£100m will buy us some good players, if it’s going to happen it would be funny to nick Suarez from Arsenal!”