Gareth Bale’s future looks increasingly likely to be at Real Madrid with a record £93m transfer fee that is expected to be completed at some point over this weekend.
The Spanish club intensified negotiations this week to land the Spurs winger with talks having gone on for almost two months, and rather embarrassingly Bale’s name was available to have printed on Real’s shirts on the club online store for a brief period yesterday.
However, Press Association are reporting that the move has been put on hold until Spurs confirm a replacement for Bale, after Chlesea attempted to hijack their move for Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian.
An agreement had been reached with his current side Anzhi Makhachkala with a medical also being passed, but Chelsea lodged a £32m bid late on Thursday night which was accepted by the Russian club. The allure of Champions League football - and probable increased wage - is likely to force Spurs into a dogfight over what they can offer Willian, as they look to secure his move before allowing Bale to leave.
Chairman Daniel Levy was incensed with Chelsea's late attempt, and they could also look to secure Roma striker Erik Lamela should they fail to land Willian. It could delay the sanctioning of Bale's move, but Real are determined to push it through this weekend regardless.
Levy has been in advanced discussions with Real officials for the last two days, with the structure of how the £93m will be paid at the forefront of talks after Madrid left-back Fabio Conetrao declined to be a makeweight in the deal.
Spurs had tried to persuade Real to include players in their offer, with Coentrao, Angel Di Maria and young striker Alvaro Morata believed to be included in their demands, but the trio’s reluctance to leave the Santiago Bernabeu means that the La Liga club will have to pay the full figure in cash.
Yet Real remain confident that they can announce the signing of the 24-year-old before their Madrid derby next weekend, with the club keen to maximise the global television audience with the early kick-off and Bale’s commerciality which is expected to return a large chunk – if not all – of the transfer fee,
The move was delayed by Real’s friendly against former player and club record goal-scorer Rauls’ new side Al Saad as part of the annual Santiago Bernabeu trophy, which Real one comfortably 5-0.
When the likely move goes through, the previous world-record transfer fee set when the Spanish club signed Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 after they paid £80m to Manchester United.
Bale has become increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress in talks having made it clear to Levy that he wanted to switch clubs and head to Real, and he grew tired of the chairman’s the tactics and apparent intransigence to get the most out of the buying club, which had appeared to put the transfer into doubt after meeting with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez twice over the summer.
There can be no doubting Levy’s ability to secure the best for Spurs though, and along with their technical director Franco Baldini, they have already worked wonders to bring Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho and Etienne Capoue to the club.
They remain close to completing the £30m signing of Willian which would be considered a significant coup for the Lilywhites should they fend of Chelsea's interest.