Spurs supporters – avert your eyes.
We may see some traction this week in the Gareth Bale saga as the winger’s representatives hope to meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to discuss a potential move to Real Madrid.
Returning to London from Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong, the club has been granted two days of down time before preparations begin for Saturday’s friendly in Monaco. It’s a match that, with Bale’s glute muscle issue and the growing murmurs of his discontent, the winger is unlikely to feature.
The source of Bale’s ire has been well publicized: Levy has refused to consider the $133 million (€100m) bid that Madrid has reportedly tabled for the 24 year old. From all indications, Spurs will remain resolute in their denial of selling Bale, world record fee or not.
The issue then becomes, how far is Bale willing to take his vexation?
He could try to force the issue by submitting a formal transfer request.
Doing so is a necessary step in the transfer process, a public declaration of the player’s unhappiness and intent to leave the club. The effect of such a move in this situation, however, is questionable as Levy would likely reject the request and Madrid chairman Florentino Pérez is already set to meet Levy in Miami early next month.
If a transfer request is submitted and denied, Bale’s taste for Madrid will really be tested as the next step in the guide to getting a transfer is typically to go AWOL. It’s a move that Luka Modric successfully employed last year when Levy stamped his feet in protest of the Croatian international’s proposed transfer to the Santiago Bernabéu.
Whether Bale, who has maintained a delightful relationship with the Tottenham higher-ups since moving to the club in 2007, is willing to leave under such hostile circumstances is a scenario that both sides will hope to avoid.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]
No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]
Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday