If we are to believe the Daily Mirror, which is a bit like trusting a juicy rumor a Beverly Hills High, then Manchester United are preparing to line up a $91 million (£60m) bid for Gareth Bale.
So why should we believe that United are going to make this bid?
First, United have made only a single signing this summer, adding Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Varela. Not to disparage Varela – Rafael would be smart to stay on his toes this season – but the 20 year old isn’t exactly the kind of player that supporters are poppin’ bottles for.
Second, United still need to inject a star into their midfield. Although the club’s most pressing need is for a holding player – and Bale typically operates on the wing or in a central attacking position – it’s important that United make a splash after being snubbed by Spain Under 21 star Thiago Alcantara, who left Barcelona last week to join former manager Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
Third, making a Bale offer would do wonders to take fans’ minds off of the tortuous Wayne Rooney saga.
But a bid is merely a bid. The real question is whether now is the time for Bale to leave White Hart Lane.
Spurs fans will claim that no matter what the rumor mill says, Bale is staying. At least for the time being.
They’ll argue that Bale is comfortable at Spurs and that he gets along well with manager Andre Villas-Boas, who expressly stated at the start of the summer that: “We have the pledge of the chairman that Bale is not going to leave the club.”
They’ll also note that Bale is friendly with his teammates, most of whom are world-class players, and that Bale’s value will only increase in future years.
They’ll offer that Bale is a bit of a home-body who loves the fact that his grandfather can attend all his matches and that his hometown is only a few hour drive from North London.
And finally, they’ll argue that Daniel Levy simply isn’t ready to sell the player. Villas-Boas noted the chairman’s unwillingness to sell and this is only underscored by the fact that Levy wants to win – and he recognizes that Bale is the key to the club becoming a major player in European football.
But haters will hate.
They’ll claim that Spurs always sell their best players, that’s just what Tottenham does (see: Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United and Luka Modric to Real Madrid).
They’ll also argue that Bale needs Champions League football. It’s an over-used statement but for Bale it has legit value as the Welshman needs to play in the top club competition in the world since he is highly unlikely ever to participate in a top international competition (World Cup or Euro). Plus, by playing on a more competitive side, Bale will play with better players and therefore be more inclined to reach his full potential as a footballer.
Money, however, is the number one reason haters will claim Bale is inclined to leave. Levy, as staunch as he may be, might change his mind on a sale for Bale when the chairman sits down at a table with $91 million dollars on it. And least we forget – Bale is human. Is he really disinclined to make more money?
Weekly wages at a club like United could be more than double what he makes at Spurs.
You can find Mike on Twitter @mprindi