According to ESPN Senior Football Writer Mark Ogden, Gareth Bale is seemingly, finally, to leave Real Madrid for another club this summer, and it’s likely a two horse race between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United as to who will actually sign him. To hear Ogden put it, Tottenham is now in the lead.
Ogden is citing ESPN sources that claim Madrid will sell Bale for £18m, which goes along with past reports that they are also willing to subsidize half of his astronomical £600k/wk wages. That’s still a hefty chunk of change for a club like Spurs who only pays their top wage earner, Harry Kane, just north of £200k/wk. The report claims that there have been, and continue to be, negotiations between the two clubs.
If you read between the lines in Ogden’s report, it suggests that United may be Bale’s first choice, but he’s considered a failsafe option if United aren’t successful in their attempt to sign Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. That means Bale knows that he can sign with Spurs at pretty much any time if he gets tired of waiting around. It puts Tottenham in the unenviable position of being a potential stalking horse, which, frankly, we should all be used to by now. It also means that we probably won’t have any sort of resolution here until close to the end of the window.
I still can’t quite believe this is a real thing that could potentially happen, and in truth it still feels like an elaborate fantasy considering the amount of money involved and the spending power of United. My brain is screaming at me that signing a 31-year old injury-prone superstar on astronomical wages who hasn’t had a good season or even played a lot of football since 2018 is a pretty spectacularly bad idea. My emotions, on the other hand, are making finger-hearts and screaming OMG BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALE COME HOME ALL IS FORGIVEN and thinking about how potentially fun he’d be in the six games he’d play uninjured this season.
So I don’t know what to think. It is, however, increasingly clear that this is a thing that might actually happen, despite our past vehement exhortations to the contrary #onhere. So let’s lean into the skid — if this happened, would you a) like it, and b) think it’s a good idea?
Let’s hear it, y’all.
UPDATE (11:34 AM ET):
It’s time to actually pay attention to this never-ending saga that might actually end. Gold has confirmed that the interest is real. It does seem the biggest hurdle, as expected, are Bale’s wages.
I normally roll my eyes when there's Gareth Bale questions most windows, every year. Finally, this is a window when I don't think I can. From what I understand Spurs are genuinely having a go for a loan and if they can get Real Madrid to help out a lot, I think it might happen.— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) September 15, 2020
Spurs have worked out deals like this before. Emmanuel Adebayor is the prime example, who joined Spurs back in 2011. Adebayor was on £170,000/week at the time of the loan deal. Tottenham had a strict wage cap of £100,000/week that they needed to get under so City subsidized much of the striker’s salary in order to get the deal done. Eventually the move became permanent but it had no chance of getting off the ground without City paying a fair chunk.
If Spurs are serious about pulling off this reunion, Real are going to have to pay more than 50%. I don’t think it’s outlandish of Levy to suggest a 75/25 split because the Spanish side is desperate to be rid of him, but that will come down to negotiation.
Update 2 (2:25 pm): We’ve got more confirmation, and this time it’s from sources about as rock solid as you can get. Up first Dan “Dank P” Kilpatrick, from the Evening standard.
#thfc Told Bale prefers a return to Spurs over a move to Man United, who are also interested in Reguilon.— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) September 15, 2020
Also, David Ornstein is also reporting that there’s a REAL ACTUAL DEAL IN PROGRESS:
Tottenham also working on deal to re-sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid. No agreements but 31yo keen - #THFC have special place in heart. With Sancho at impasse, Man Utd considered Bale among loan options including Costa & Perisic @TheAthleticUK #MUFC #RMFC https://t.co/nKF5NqA926— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) September 15, 2020
Guys. Guys. Guise.
... I think we’re signing Gareth Bale.