Negotiations between Tottenham and Real Madrid over the sale of Gareth Bale have been stepped up in the past 24 hours, but with Spurs insisting on the inclusion of Spain’s Under-21 international Alvaro Morata in the proposed £87m transfer.
Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has made it clear in opening discussions with the Madrid board that he wants the highly rated striker included in the deal.
A meeting between Levy and Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, is scheduled for this week in Florida, with Real due to play in Miami on Wednesday, but the Tottenham chairman will attend only if Real are willing to negotiate Morata’s inclusion in the deal.
Madrid had originally rejected outright Spurs’ request to take the 20-year-old striker, but Perez has been made aware that Tottenham are not interested in alternatives.
Real had hoped to include the Portuguese full-back Fabio Coentrao or Argentine winger Angel Di Maria as part of a record-breaking deal but Tottenham feel the former is overpriced both in terms of his transfer value and wages, while the latter wants to stay at Madrid.
Selling Morata to Spurs would be a hugely unpopular move by Perez, who has tried to banish a reputation for failing to bring through the club’s youth players this summer by not signing a striker and fast-tracking Morata into the first team. If he were to join Tottenham, Morata would link up with another former Real Madrid player, Roberto Soldado.
Spurs see the two as being able to operate as a pair but also want the Spain Under-21 international because he can play on the left of a line of three behind the striker.
Last season Jose Mourinho played the young forward there against Barcelona and he was outstanding. Perez’s other problem is that Morata’s departure would further diminish striker numbers at Madrid. It would leave the club with Karim Benzema as their only out-and-out centre-forward and could even revive interest in Luis Suarez.
Morata top-scored in Spain’s Under-21 European Championship win this summer despite starting most games on the bench. He played his way into the starting XI for the final against Italy, setting up the first goal as Spain won 4-2.
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