So, it’s finally over then. European media have broken out in consensus that Tottenham and Real Madrid have agreed a deal to take Gareth Bale to the Spanish capital, ending one of the summer’s longest-running transfer sagas.
With various figures between £80 million and £115 million mooted over the course of the past two months as the over-inflation of an unstable transfer market entered new boundaries, it seems like Daniel Levy and Florentino Perez have shook hands at £93 million and the transfer of Fabio Coentrao.
With Levy having forged a reputation as one of the game’s fiercest negotiators and Perez having dealt with some of the biggest names as pioneer of the “Galactico” era at Madrid, the nuances of the deal taking Bale to the Bernabeu were always going to be stretched out.
Despite adding the wonderfully talented young Spanish talents of Asier Illaramendi and Isco, it has been Bale who has been installed as Madrid’s number 1 target throughout the summer. Perez and his new manager Ancelotti have been desperate to bring in the relentless athleticism of Bale to compliment the similar qualities of Cristiano Ronaldo in an attack that will be charged with winning back La Liga from rivals Barcelona.
£93 million will see Bale break the record as the world’s most expensive footballer and in doing so will give Tottenham sufficient funds to ensure the departure of Bale’s 21 goals will be softened enough to put the north London club in position to launch another bid for Champions League football.
Coentrao will bring a willingness to charge forward as well as the experience of the 63 games he played for Madrid during his two seasons in La Liga. The Portuguese left-back will also be an upgrade on Spurs’ current left-back options of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton.
Though used sparingly by Jose Mourinho last term, Coentrao still represents an attractive proposition at the age of 25 and will provide Andre Villas-Boas with versatility given his ability to play left-wing and centre-midfield as well as his natural position of left-back.
Omitted from Carlo Ancelotti’s first squad in charge of Real Madrid, the Italian coach confirmed his full-back has requested to leave the club and included in the deal for Bale, it will be of considerably more value than the £17 million they had expressed exploratory interest with earlier in the summer. It was a fee Spurs were reportedly willing to stretch too on top of the £60 million they have outlaid so far this summer on Ettiene Capoue, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho.
It was through Soldado that Tottenham, minus Gareth Bale, won their season opener against Crystal Palace, though it would have come clear the need for attacking reinforcements as Spurs relied on a penalty to breakthrough their newly-promoted opposition.
In the absence of Bale, Chadli and Aaron Lennon will be relied upon to provide service from the wings with Moussa Dembele and Paulinho supporting centrally. But Villas-Boas will be cautious as to whether will that will be enough to replace Bale’s brand of explosive pace and energetic strength that won Spurs so many games last season.
It is of no surprise then to learn then that the stories of Bale’s departure have been accompanied by reports of interest in Roma’s Erik Lamela and the highly-coveted winger Wllian of Anzhi Makhachkala. It will be a powerful reinvestment of what will almost inevitably Bale’s sale fee as a summer’s spending spree surpassing £100 million will not fall into line with UEFA’s rules on financial fair play given Spurs’ failure to make the Champions League.
Levy, even faced with losing his club’s most dangerous and important asset, has managed to ensure his manager has remained equipped with a squad able to genuinely challenge the upper echelons of the Premier League.
It is believed slightly less than £30 million is what will be required to bring Lamela and his frightening pace to the Premier League on the back of a record that reads 21 goals from 66 games at Roma from a position on the right of an attacking three.
A fantastic athlete, the 21 year old Argentine is a technically gifted dribbler and a potent creative force as he assisted 12 goals during his time at the Stadio Olimpico. Tottenham’s new director of football, Franco Baldini will be fully aware of what Lamela can bring to the party after overseeing his development during his time as a director at the Giallorossi.
Willian meanwhile is more at home on the left-flank despite his natural right-footed use and partnered with Lamela’s habit of cutting inside on his natural left, suggests Villas-Boas will be looking to implement a 4-3-3 that relies on inverted wingers either side of Soldado with flying full-backs in support of the in-moving wide men. Hence the interest in Coentrao, for instance.
The Brazilian however will cost in excess of Lamela, regardless of Anzhi’s financial crisis they will hold out for a fee in the region of £30 million that has since priced Liverpool out of their original interest. For that price Spurs will be getting a player who scored 8 times over 35 games last season and assisted 15.
His trickery and quick-feet saw him involved in a goal in every 75 minutes of Champions League football playing for Shakhtar last season, it is his dynamism and dangerous movement that make him an obvious candidate to fill the void vacated by Bale.
From the moment the curtain fell on Spurs’ season in May, the year that their winger Gareth Bale came of age and showed that he could produce imperious quality on a regular basis, it has become almost wide-spread expectation that he would leave White Hart Lane for the lucrative setting of Madrid.
As that expectation edges ever closer to reality, it seems like Tottenham have formed an excellent plan to carry on without him.
Written by Adam Gray
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250
Please like O-Posts on Facebook
You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts