Is the season over yet? I'm not sure my nerves can take much more. A lot has been said about why a certain Gary should or shouldn't move to Iberia. To be honest, I, like many of you, will probably be heartbroken no matter what happens because Spurs. So, in about a week (please, for the sake of my health let it be over next week...) either I will be yelling "but we could have used that kajillion pounds to buy everything! Oh you Welsh devil, why are you tormenting us!" Or I will be yelling "Wesus, we can never replace you! Why did you leave us? How will we build an eternal dynasty without you!"
In the meantime, we are left with conjecture, ITKs and widespread speculation designed specifically to mess with the emotions of all Spurs fans everywhere. We don't even have much here say because no one is saying anything original to hear (Zidane and Marca don't count). However, interestingly, 99% of that conjecture and speculation has rested on the mindset of Bale and not the man actually playing the game, Daniel Levy (other than to note that Danny is a vampire and you will lose your soul if you negotiate with him, see Alex, Sir, for more information.)
So, what's really going on inside that devilish brain of our bald master? (At this point, I should clarify that I'm not actually the REAL Daniel Levy, and I'm not writing this from my Scarface-style Miami crime villa where I take my family on vacation. So, this is also an article full of conjecture.)
In order to get a full picture we need to go back a little bit to the beginning of the summer. Back to the quaint old days when we said things like "what if someone wants to buy Gareth bale?" and "well, if someone offered crazy money, like 85 mill, then we'd HAVE to take it, but that's just mad. No one would EVER offer that." The original strategy was based on the principle that we would under no circumstances sell Bale this year.
We know that DL and the board are somewhat conservative. They take the long view and don't take big financial risks with the club. They are extremely patient about who the buy and when, and they are always on the lookout for a good deal. This can be frustrating for fans who want to win everything and now. But this summer felt different from the start. After finishing with a record 72 points last season, the club feels as though it's on the cusp of breaking into elite territory for good, and as such I believe DL made a decision to roll the dice; spend big this summer to ensure we take our spot. The interesting thing is that he reacted differently from the last couple of years, when we were also on the brink. Why didn't he speculate then? Well, he had time, so he didn't have to take that risk. But with Bale's contract winding down, and, perhaps more importantly AVBs, this can be seen as the perfect storm, the best season to push on. So DL started to spend--perhaps borrowing from Lewis against future TV money or a possible future Bale sale to do so.
Then the foreign devils came calling. At first DL's response was "get lost" but as the numbers started to climb it started to get a little more interesting. I believe DL is now playing Madrid against itself, and it goes like this. The strategy Madrid had to play to open negotiations with Bale also opens them to vulnerability that we can exploit; in all their publicity, pomp, and presumption, they are saying the they are the biggest team in the world and that they do not fail. So, let's see how far that pride will string them along. In a sense, they want to do a megadeal for their pride as much as we want one to replace the Bale-shaped hole in our hearts. They WANT to spend mad money, and they want Bale. (Can you hear DL laughing?) So at every step of the process we should see what happens if we increase the price. Let's agree 85 'aint enough, it needs to break 100 to be spectacular. Now let's agree that you don't have enough cash, so we should have a player go the other way. And let's make that player someone you really care about with stacks of future potential. Let's make it two players. And we want the cash up front. And we want a buy-back clause. And a sell on clause. And first refusal of five of your other players. And we want you to personally pour the concrete for our stadium expansion, and Daniel needs his bald head oiled and massaged by Ronaldo. Etc. etc. etc.
And on and on it goes. The great news for Spurs in that we have all the cards. We don't have to sell Bale, but it's becoming more vital for Madrid to buy him thanks to the hubris of their public campaign. This negotiation style also means that we can run out the window; the time pressure is all on their side and growing. But what about incoming transfers for us, I hear you ask. Don't we need to sell soon so we can replace? Well, gentle reader, we don't have to sell Bale to buy people. In fact it's better if he's still here because we can pay less and attract better talent, In fact, that's what we are already doing, that process has already started. So we will keep shopping regardless. If we don't sell Bale then we continue borrow the money we have spent until next year. If we do sell him, then we pay back the loan and leave some left over for new stadiums/new players/new Transylvanian castles. So in principle we could easily continue to see one or two more marquee signings in the next couple of weeks regardless of whatever else happens.
So, to review, our strategy is fluid, we are spending now regardless of what happens with Bale, and we are seeing how desperate we can make Madrid. You'll notice that this is why all the press leaks are coming from the Madrid side with only radio silence from Spurs. They have to alieviate the pressure. The have to get the deal done. We, on the other hand, have no such constraints. We can play on for another month and the silence is our ally. (See Levy, Vampire, for more info.) This negotiation strategy also sets us up nicely for next year, where we can pick up nicely where we left off. So depending on how things are going behind those closed doors, we may only be playing the long game after all.
In conclusion, I don't know much about football, but I do know negotiations. And I have limited information on the players and what exactly is going on behind those closed doors, but from past experience and a big-picture view of the situation, I can say that we are in good hands. Whatever happens in the next little while, we will come out stronger than ever before.
The bad news is that this may well be over tomorrow, but it will more likely drag on for the rest of the window. And as usual, expect it to mess with the start of our season. But by then AVB will have most of the tools he needs to do a Porto. And remember, we're Spurs fans, so whatever happens, there is a high chance we'll be pretty mad about it.