Gareth Bale future in the balance
It has been widely reported this week that Real Madrid have stepped up their chase of Tottenham Hotspur forward Gareth Bale and have a staggering £85 million deal is on the table. What’s more, the consensus is that the North London’ club’s reluctance to entertain the bid, even at this astonishing rate has left the Welsh star anything from disappointed to angry, depending what media source you are reading.
Whilst Bale doesn’t seem like the kind of character to acrimoniously fallout with the club’s ownership – his relationship with manager Andres Villas Boas and his teammates is famously strong – it is well known that the 24-year-old considers a transfer to the Bernabeau a dream move.
Tottenham chief Daniel Levy is supremely consummate in getting the absolute best value out of selling players, as the transfers of Dimitar Berbatov and Luca Modric have proven. However there is a sense that the combination of Bale’s desire to play in the Champion’s League with a one of the greatest side’s in the world, coupled with the huge transfer fee – which could easily end up being a world record – may leave him no choice but to relinquish his prize asset.
The bookies certainly are in no doubt about where they think Bale will end up after this transfer window, backed at 1/2 to complete his move to Real Madrid by the start of September. Hopeful Spurs fans may also point to the 6/4 on him staying at White Hart Lane as evidence that the deal is not yet a foregone conclusion.
According to the bookies Manchester United are the only other club with a chance of capturing Bale’s signature at this stage, and they are priced as big outsiders at 14/1. It is no secret that new manager David Moyes is desperate to strengthen his squad and like any top club, would be interested in Bale. However, given the circumstances it would be a real coup to deflect Bale away from both Spurs and Real Madrid at this point.
Europe’s other elite clubs are far behind in terms of odds on getting Bale,
Although such long odds may just tempt some punters into a bet. Bayern (80/1) and Barcelona (50/1) look to have completed their summer shopping, but the likes of PSG (33/1) and Chelsea (50/1) could perhaps be tempted to empty their formidable coffers if such an exceptional talent became available.
Bale has had a meteoric rise from a talented but inconsistent youngster to one of the stars of the game in a matter of a few seasons. Converted first to a winger, then a wing-forward and finally a deep lying striker by manager Andreas Villas-Boas, Bale was often unplayable last season and scored a haul of 26 goals for Spurs.
Bale’s talent as a teenage left-back playing for Southampton had led to well documented interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, but both decided against a bid, a decision that both clubs must be rueing now. Ultimately Tottenham swooped and snapped him up for only £5 million.
However his progress to one of football’s elite players has not been smooth, Bale famously failed to win a game whilst playing for Tottenham for two years and through three managers - 25 games and 1,533 minutes passing over this time. Spurs were even rumoured to have been close to offloading him to both Nottingham Forest and Birmingham. This week an old article claiming that Spurs were ready to use Bale as a makeweight in a £15 million deal to buy Stuart Downing from Middlesbrough perfectly illustrates his amazing turnaround.
Since then Bale hasn’t looked back and huge credit must go to him for improving his mentality, technical, and physical approach to the game to rise to the level that would attract Real Madrid and possibly the world record transfer fee his signature may just demand. Recognition must also go to first Harry Rednkapp, who moved Bale out left-back when he recognised his creative potential, and then Villas Boas, who encouraged the Welsh winger to develop into a free roaming forward – a position that reaped such spell-binding performances last season.