United to make bid for Bale?

Shaun Botterill

Javier Hernandez as a make-weight? Yeah, it's that ridiculous.

Dispatches from #batcountry is a daily series at Cartilage Free Captain where we examine ridiculous transfer rumors found on the internet and tell you why you shouldn't believe them. Why #batcountry? Because our own author The Sleeper's Sleep wrote a brilliant article last summer comparing the Silly Season™ to a scene from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

So, Gareth Bale's foot is reportedly really injured, and it looks likely that not only will Real Madrid not meet Spurs' evaluation of the Welsh wizard, but Madrid might not actually have the money to begin with.  But if you thought that meant that we wouldn't still hear rumors about Bale leaving Tottenham up until the end of the transfer window, then you're crazy.  Various sources are reporting that Manchester United are now poised to make a bid for Bale, and may have already done so.

In the insane realm of #batcountry transfer rumors, there's often a source attribution carousel that not only obfuscates who originated the rumor, but also puts it through an echo chamber.  Take this one from ITV, which claims that David Moyes is expected to offer Javier Hernandez as a make-weight in a Bale bid.  The ITV article quotes "reports in Spain" which leads to this ESPN Deportes article, which itself references another story, arguably the source, from England's The Independent.  This story has no quotes (at least regarding Bale), and speaks of Hernandez only in the most abstract of hypothetical situations.  Now take into consideration the reality that Chicharito, though a fine player, is a poacher who is not a good fit at Spurs and would still be well down the depth chart even if they sell Jermain Defoe.

Now, look. United probably will, or already has, made a cheeky play for Gareth Bale, I don't doubt that whatsoever.  Moyes seems to be willing to use whatever clout he has at United to take a few swings for the fences.  But there's virtually zero chance that United can offer anything monetarily close to a hypothetical Real Madrid bid, and there's that whole "strengthening your league rivals" thing and the continued fallout from the Carrick and Berbatov sales.  If Daniel Levy is turning down £85m from Real Madrid, what makes anyone think that he'd be any more receptive to the league champions?

So I'd be willing to bet my Chinese-made 2009 powder-blue away kit with the fuzzy iron-on Mansion logo that Bale will not be wearing a red Aon shirt when the transfer window closes, no matter what the newspapers are saying.  Bale may yet go, but it won't be to Manchester.

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