There's been a lot of buzz recently about Football Leaks, a Wikileaks-style blog that is releasing football transfer contracts and other privileged information to the general public. The media has eaten this stuff up as it shines a spotlight on club to club transfers and player contracts, one of the most obtuse and closely-guarded parts of the footballing world.
Yesterday, Football Leaks dropped a bombshell by releasing the transfer and solidarity agreements for one Gareth Frank Bale to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur. Anyone can access and read them online, but we've gone through it and broken down a few of the key things we've learned from these documents.
By the end, Real Madrid will end up paying around €100m for Bale
There was always a lot of speculation about exactly how large Gareth Bale's transfer fee was, and there's a reason for that: the contract stipulates that Tottenham could not comment publicly about the transfer price. And one reason for that seems to be because the final price depended on whether Real Madrid paid everything up front or in installments.
If Madrid paid everything within 15 days of the contract being signed, the fee would've been €87m (£74.2m). However, if they opted for the installment plan, the final fee jumped up to just under €100m (£85.1m).
It appears that Madrid opted for the extended payment plan, which means the higher price. Either way, the answer to How much money did Tottenham get for Gareth bale is: "a LOT."
Tottenham have the right of first refusal if Madrid sell Bale
But even more interesting than the price tag is this little caveat: as a condition of the sale, Spurs are given essentially the first shot at signing Bale back.
Basically, between his sale and July 2019, if Madrid accept any bids for Bale from another club, they have to notify Spurs, and Tottenham has 72 hours to decide if they want to match the bid. If they do, Madrid are obligated to sell him back to Tottenham. We shall hereby refer to this as the "F**k Manchester United Clause."
In reality it might not mean much. Bale's in his prime and one of the best players in world football. If Madrid were to sell him in the near term it would be for an astronomical fee, and one that Spurs may not want to pay. There's also the unmentioned problem of his astronomical wages. However, in 2019 Gareth Bale will be 29 years old, and possibly (maybe?) just past his prime. This gives Spurs an opportunity, even if they decide not to proceed with it and assuming Gareth agrees to the move, to bring Bale back to North London.
Mauricio Pochettino would welcome Gareth Bale back
Poche was asked about whether he would want to sign Bale back if he were given the option, and he said yes. Because if you're given the option to sign one of the best players in world football, you're dumb if you say no. Duh.
"I think if we have the option to sign him - why not?" said Pochettino. "He's a great player and a player that can improve our squad."
(Mauricio, if someone asks you if you want to sign a Welsh footballing god, you say "YES!!")
Gareth Bale is legally prohibited from talking smack about Tottenham
In the days and weeks leading up to Bale's transfer, there were numerous off-the-record reports that Bale was frustrated with how negotiations were going and was upset at Tottenham for playing hard-ball about the move. However, after the transfer, nary a bad word was said about Spurs by either Bale or Real Madrid.
Turns out there was a very good (and hilarious) reason for that: Bale was contractually obligated not to talk crap about Spurs until the complete fulfillment of the transfer agreement.
The final installment in Bale's transfer fee is due by July 24, 2016. Which means that, on July 25, Bale is no longer bound by this gag order and can say whatever the hell he wants. So if Bale really is still ticked off at Daniel Levy, we might just be able to hear his side of the story in the Spanish and/or English press this summer. That could be fun.