Comment: Tottenham should sell Gareth Bale - the offer from Real Madrid will simply be too good to refuse

The player wants to go and for over £80m this could be a triumph of sorts for Daniel Levy

In the league table of football finances compiled by Deloitte for Europe’s leading clubs, Tottenham Hotspur were in at 13th place for the 2011-12 financial year, the last one on record, with an annual revenue of £178.2m. From there they looked down on the likes of Schalke, Napoli, Marseilles and Lyons but were a very long way from the elite at the summit of the game’s wealth.

Consider the breakdown of Spurs’  finances into the three fundamental areas of revenue: broadcasting earned them £76.1m, the commercial department £51.3m and match-day revenue, in the atmospheric, resolutely 20th-century White Hart Lane, a further £50.8m.

In short, the potential sale of Gareth Bale this summer for a transfer fee in excess of the world-record £80m would, at a stroke, earn Spurs more than they previously generated in any of their three main areas of business. There is no denying, even in football’s era of  oligarchs and billionaire owners, that commanding more than £80m for a single player is an extraordinary deal.

Of course, Southampton would have to be paid their share under the  compensation rules but it would be the ultimate trade for Daniel Levy who has had some good ones: Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric among them. He has pursued the buy-’em-young-and-cheap policy with such success that bigger clubs who find themselves with less clout in the  market these days, like Manchester United, have followed suit.

Levy has been central to that. He will never push the club to challenge meaningfully at the very top of the Premier League, certainly not in their current stadium. They have qualified for the Champions League only once, although they were cruelly denied a second go at it by Chelsea last year. But Levy has stopped them being treated as a soft touch, in the way they were over Sol Campbell a dozen years ago.

Football – and the markets that drive it – evolves very quickly. Just because the stance that a club took with one player, at one particular time, was a success does not necessarily mean that it will be the right way to progress the next time. Levy’s firmness with Modric and Chelsea in 2011 was admirable, but it does not necessarily make it the right way to approach Bale and Madrid.

Madrid’s unimaginative, ostentatious attempts to buy success by harvesting the world’s best players is at times pathetic. There is a good case for saying Bale would be better served by going elsewhere – especially if he wants to win the Champions League. But the point is that the player wants to go and, on the condition that it is a world-record fee, this could be a triumph of sorts for Spurs.

Like Modric, this would be the second leading Spurs player to be sold out of the league rather than to a domestic rival. Few could have foreseen Bale’s progress, but Spurs kept faith and have a once-in-a-generation player, perhaps the greatest player the club has ever had.

This is the natural endgame. In modern football, players who have reached the level Bale has at 24 years old simply do not see out their careers at clubs with Spurs’ relatively modest ambitions. That is a pity and it diminishes the richness of the game, but it is simply the way things are. The next best thing for Spurs to having him play at White Hart Lane? Cashing in at the top of the biggest bull market football has ever known.

Related articles...

Poll: Is Bale worth more than £80m?

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas lauds Bale - declaring the Tottenham forward 'decides games'

Comment: Bale is entitled to Real Madrid riches but spare us the love-for-Tottenham rot

Who could Tottenham sign if they sell Gareth Bale to Real Madrid?

Daniel Levy v Florentino Perez: The big hitters from Tottenham and Real Madrid battling over Bale

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little