The expectation at Tottenham Hotspur is that if Real Madrid offer a world-record transfer fee for Gareth Bale, in excess of the £80m they paid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, then Spurs will sell – although they will not take players as a makeweight in the deal.
The mood at the club on Monday was that the chairman, Daniel Levy, would be able to justify to supporters an unprecedented transfer fee of more than £80m for Bale. He may even negotiate a player from Real Madrid as extra to that, but key to the deal would be the Spanish club breaking their own transfer record in cash, not with players added on to make up the value.
Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao have both been suggested as possible elements of a deal for Bale but Spurs would be keen to portray the sale of the 24-year-old, if it came to that, as a world-record fee, in much the same way as Manchester United made public the fee from Madrid when they sold Ronaldo to them in 2009.
The Tottenham squad returned from Hong Kong in the early hours of yesterday morning and were given the day off. They are not required in for training today either. The club are in no doubt as to Bale’s position that he wants to leave and the onus now is on Madrid to come through with a bid in excess of £80m.
As with United’s sale of Ronaldo, once Madrid hit the figure that Spurs have in mind, there is a good chance that the transfer of the player could happen quickly. The question for Madrid is whether they can come up with that £80m-plus figure in cash without first having to sell players. They have already moved Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli for £31m.
What is clear to the club now is that the process is being driven by the player himself. He wants to leave Spurs and the prospect of being the player for whom the world-record transfer fee is paid, and joining what he regards as the most famous club in football, are paramount for him.
It will be intriguing to see whether the player himself is prepared to voice publicly his own strength of feeling about a move to Madrid. As things stand, Bale and his advisers are hopeful that it will not come to that and Madrid will offer Spurs and Levy the kind of money they simply cannot turn down.
The current holder of both the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association player of the year awards, Bale can be shy and conservative in his public pronouncements. However, those around the player have been surprised about how sure he is about making the move to Madrid this summer. Bale and his advisers are reliant, though, upon Madrid backing up their admiration for the player with a game-changing offer.
The Spurs chairman, along with technical director Franco Baldini, are working on the £26m deal for Robert Soldado, from Valencia, which would potentially be a record transfer for the club in terms of money spent. Another mentioned would be the Brazilian winger Bernard. Coentrao’s potential arrival at the club, by no means a certainty, would complicate the picture for the promising English left-back Danny Rose, back from his loan at Sunderland.