Spurs have finally, officially sold 24-year-old winger Gareth Bale to Real Madrid after months of feet dragging and false alarms with one day left in the summer transfer window. And to fully prove that the move is real, EA Sports produced a short teaser video showing Bale, who signed a six-year contract, as a member of Real Madrid in the upcoming FIFA 14 game. Now the only question that still remains is whether the deal marks a new world record transfer fee.
The English press are reporting that the deal is worth a record €100 million ($132 million), while the Spanish press are convinced that Real Madrid paid €91 million ($120 million). In the latter stages of the melodrama that this story became, there were reports that Real Madrid wanted to keep the deal below the €94 million ($124 million) threshold that they set upon acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in the summer of 2009 so Ronaldo wouldn't feel like he was being usurped as the star of the team. The fact that the final number hasn't been made crystal clear by the usually boastful Spanish giants seems telling.
Whatever the final total is, it's a lot and it's enough to get Spurs to reluctantly let go of their best player — a man who scored 26 goals in all competitions for them last season. The deal was announced following their 1-0 loss to Arsenal in the north London derby on Sunday. From Spurs' official statement on the transfer:
Chairman, Daniel Levy commented, "Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for the future. He is a player whose career we have fostered and developed and he was only a year into his new four year contract.
"Such has been the attention from Real Madrid and so great is Gareth's desire to join them, that we have taken the view that the player will not be sufficiently committed to our campaign in the current season.
"We have, therefore, with great reluctance, agreed to this sale and do so in the knowledge that we have an exceptionally strong squad to which we have added no fewer than seven top internationals. More importantly, we have an immense team spirit and a dressing room that is hungry for success."
As Levy noted in his statement, Spurs weren't just wasting time as they dragged out the Bale deal. They used the summer wisely and signed what seemed like a full squad of new players worth more than €100,000,000. The hope is that instead of being dependent on one player, they will develop a more balanced team that can challenge for a place in the top four after coming up just short last season. The seven new players whose cost will be predominantly negated by the sale of Bale are: Paulinho from Corinthians, Nacer Chadli from Twente, Roberto Soldado from Valencia, Etienne Capoue from Toulouse, Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest, Christian Eriksen from Ajax and Erik Lamela from Roma.
As for Real Madrid, they now have a dilemma they've grown used to in figuring out how to use all of their stars and their overlapping talents while keeping inner turmoil to a minimum. Though Spurs didn't want to sell and Bale is a very talented young player, it's very possible that they got the better end of this agreement.