If you guys didn't catch it this morning, MARCA is running a huge cover story in which they state that Gareth Bale has asked to leave Tottenham Hotspur and that he has already agreed in principle to a 6-year contract with the Spanish giants. Ensue panic.
Oh, MARCA. You are world class shit-stirrers. Perhaps the greatest shit-stirrers on the face of the earth. Never change.
Anyway, the Bale story says that Florentino Perez fed the press lies a month ago. He balked at Daniel Levy's £100m asking price, but always felt like a deal was there to be negotiated. He said that it was impossible to sign Bale to throw the press off his scent, but he's been working to get a deal done all along. Plot twist!
The article also features this quote from Bale representitive Jonathan Barnett and additional commentary by MARCA that will probably get you all mad. This is taken from the original Spanish, translated and cleaned up a bit by me.
"Have no doubt: Gareth has wanted to play for Madrid since childhood," he said. He then took a picture of Bale at age 10 wearing a Real Madrid shirt and told them that the boy grew up dazzled by the Galacticos ... That Florentino loved.
ZOMG BALE LOVED BECKHAM AND RONALDO AND ZIDANE HE'S DESTINED TO PLAY FOR REAL MADRID!
(If you watched football during that era and you're not Catalan or an Atleti supporter, you loved those guys too. And if you say you don't, you hate fun.)
Of course, Andre Villas-Boas is still singing the same tune about keeping Bale. Sky Sports had some quotes from his press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
"On Gareth, I want to repeat what I was telling you last season and what I was telling you from the beginning of [pre-season] so I cannot extend myself. He is a player that we are willing to continue to have, he's a Tottenham player, he's one of the most fantastic players in the world at the moment and we are counting on him for the future. I think everyone at the club wants us to finish in the top four, the club wants to be in the top four, and we need to go one better this season and finish in the top four."
I have no idea where any of this is going, but what I do know is that the press is going to continue to toy with us until deadline day and we're going to have more fun with it than we're willing to admit. I hope that Gareth Bale stays. I hope that he doesn't hand in a transfer request. I don't even have a guess about whether or not my hopes will come to fruition.