Gareth Bale is an enormous financial albatross around the necks of Real Madrid — the fans don’t like him, he isn’t part of Zinedine Zidane’s plans, and he seems content at present to get paid to play golf in Madrid instead of football. But that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from trying anything at all to offload him to any club that might have him or come close to affording a halfway decent transfer fee and a portion of his current wages.
So should we be surprised that MARCA is now suggesting that Tottenham Hotspur are interested in bringing him back to North London? No, we should not. That’s exactly what’s happening now. The report states that Spurs have “shown interest” in bringing Bale back to the club that developed him into a global superstar, but with a pretty big caveat — Spurs can only afford a fee of €50-60m (£45-54m) and would only pay half of his current wages, with the remainder on Madrid.
At first glance that looks like a bargain. Spurs fans don’t have to go too far back in history to find another somewhat similarly structured deal that brought Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City to Tottenham, first on a loan and then on a permanent basis. With Adebayor, City ended up paying more than half of his astronomical wages while he was a permanent Tottenham player. That sounds kinda similar to what Spurs are proposing with Gareth.
But even so, this rumor still doesn’t pass muster. Bale is currently on wages of €17m per year. That works out to about £300k/week in wages, which means that even at half price they’d still be paying £150k/week. (EDIT: MARCA reports that Bale’s wages are €17m NET, i.e. after taxes, meaning his gross wages are substantially higher.) That plus the transfer fee, is a pretty substantial outlay for a 30-year old Welsh winger who seems to spend a not-insignificant portion of every season injured on the trainer’s table.
I love Gareth Bale. I loved him when he was at Spurs, I loved him when he was sold to Real Madrid, and I’d love to see him come “home.” My hind brain exults at this rumor and would totally love to see it happen it in a perfect world. But then my rational brain kicks in.
While I have no doubt that Bale would in the short term vastly improve Tottenham’s offensive output, it doesn’t make financial sense to move for him when Spurs are trying to actively improve by purchasing younger players. It’s hard to justify spending that kind of cash for Gareth Bale when the club is still working out a deal for Giovani Lo Celso and/or Dani Ceballos.
I can’t see a scenario where this reported deal happens, but it could depend on how desperate Real are to offload him somewhere (anywhere) to get at least a portion of his wages off their books. That desperation might cause Madrid to go even further in Tottenham’s financial favor, or they risk having a semi-professional golfer as their highest wage earner for another season.