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.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.
However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.
“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”
Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”
It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.