Gareth Bale to Real Madrid won't go away, it's reported in England and Spain almost daily. Jose Mourinho wanted him and then when it looked likely that the Portuguese manager would be on his way it was reported that the club wanted him, that Florentino Perez wanted him. If there had been reelections for the presidency then signing Gareth Bale would have been somebody's pledge in the fight, but Perez got another term unopposed so we all didn't have to go through the farce which would have followed.
El Conficencial said yesterday that Carlo Ancelotti had given his go-ahead for the transfer and that Gareth Bale was Real Madrid's priority. So he's gone from Mourinho's choice to Perez's pet project to Ancelotti's number one aim. The reports won't go away but there doesn't often seem to be anything of substance in them.
El Con say that Real Madrid are worried about the high price for the player and will try to bring the cost down but know that Daniel Levy will be a very hard man to negotiate with, especially after the Luka Modric saga last summer.
So put yourself in Florentino Perez's very expensive shoes and think what you'd have been doing this summer if you really wanted to sign Gareth Bale as your number one priority. Firstly, you probably wouldn't have bought Isco, it's pretty certain the squad doesn't need both and the money spent there, the deal ended up costing more than €30m, would have been a big chunk of any push for the Welshman.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, you'd have spent the summer talking his value down. Saying that although he was a fantastic talent he wasn't in the same league as Ronaldo was when he arrived at Real Madrid as a Ballon d'Or winner, that he wasn't a 'Galactico', but could be in a few years.
Zinedine Zidane was a Ballon d'Or winner when he turned up, and a World Cup winner. Figo had been voted the best Portuguese player for six consecutive years, and the best La Liga player for the previous two seasons before he made the move from Barcelona. Oh, and he also arrived a Ballon d'Or winner.
The original Ronaldo had been top scorer at a World Cup and voted the tournament's best player, he had a string of trophies and accolades and like the others had a Ballon d'Or already. These were the true Galacticos, and yet Perez has compared the purchase of those to buying Gareth Bale, saying that such a deal funds itself.
Spanish newspaper Marca have been changing their mind for the past year, in May they had a front page saying 'Everything for Bale' and yet inside doubted the deal would happen. Some days the club are going to make an offer and other days they say he's too expensive and other targets are wanted, they don't seem to have any idea what is happening. But what Marca do have is access to Perez and earlier this month he spoke to them about Bale, we covered it at the time:
'Florentino Perez has done a lengthy interview with today's Marca, in which he gives the odd kick to Mourinho, almost guarantees that Cristiano doesn't want to go anywhere and will renew, and then goes on to talk about which players may come into the club this summer.
The Spanish newspaper put over the possibility of Gareth Bale and what they consider to be a ridiculous asking price of €100m and suggest that this may put Perez and Real Madrid off the deal. The president disagreed and said that when you have a super footballer, one of the very very best, then paying such a huge fee can be justified. He says he's learnt this since taking over the presidency and has seen it with other players.
Perez explains that superstar signings bring investment and that it can work out well financially, depending on who the player is. It's done the trick with Cristiano Ronaldo and he stated earlier in the interview that whilst some may think they paid Manchester United a lot for the player, others may consider the transaction was cheap.
Then Perez, who appears to have taken the moral high-ground on transfers since Higuain announced he was leaving, said that he doesn't want to talk too much about Gareth Bale because Tottenham are a club they are friends with and he doesn't want to upset them, that he's said this after more or less justifying a huge fee must escape him.
"Bale, not talk much, because he plays at a friendly club and they will be upset by talking so much about him. I know the president well and he does not like things like that."'
Why would Perez say he wouldn't be put off Gareth Bale if the price-tag was €100m? It simply doesn't make sense if he wants to buy the player, he'd talk the value down rather than up. He'd list the achievements of the Galacticos like we have and explain that although Bale was very attractive he wasn't in that league. He'd talk about transfer market devaluation and how there was no possibility that Gareth Bale could be valued higher than Cristiano Ronaldo was when he arrived from Manchester United.
He'd say that whilst he respected Tottenham and would pay fair value that Real Madrid wouldn't be held to ransom and it would depend on the wishes of the player. He'd be publicly pushing the player and saying things like he could understand Bale wanting to move to Real Madrid, they'd be up to all sorts and it hasn't even got out of first gear yet.
Could it be that Perez has no intention of buying Gareth Bale this summer but is talking up his value to make it harder for anyone else to? Then he can look at the situation over the next year and try and get the player more onside in terms of asking Tottenham for a move? That's a hunch, a theory. It's either something like that or Perez has lost his mind when it comes to transfer negotiation.
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Ah ha ... here comes the ol 'held to ransom line' and completely out of context too ... nice