According to reports in Spain earlier today, Gareth Bale to Real Madrid is a done deal.
But Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas doesn’t think so.
Not at all.
“On Gareth, I want to repeat what I was telling you last season and what I was telling you from the beginning of (preseason), he is a player that we are willing to continue to have, he’s a Tottenham player, he’s one of the most fantastic players in the world at the moment and we are counting on him for the future.”
However Spanish paper Marca, which has particularly close links to Real, claims a six-year contract has been drawn up for Bale to sign, and the Welshman will be paid $12.9 million per season.
The shorter English version of the report on Marca’s English-speaking website is brief and to the point. (Here is the more detailed report in Spanish if you fancy sifting through this.)
In the shorter version there is an apparent quote from Real’s new assistant manager and former FIFA World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane. Here’s what he had to say about Bale after he scouted the player during Spurs’ Europa League match against Lyon in February:
He’s the number one. The player’s class lets you aspire to winning the Champions League. Not only is he a strong and fast player. He’s also clever on the pitch.
If Zizou speaks highly of Bale, Madrid must pull out all the stops to try and get him. However it is going to be a huge ask to sign him this summer, with a fee of around $115 million expected. But as the reports states, Real made Bale their number one target a long-time ago and made it their mission to bring the 24-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu when Barcelona signed Neymar back on May 26.
(MORE: Andre Villas-Boas, “Bale is not for sale at any price”)
The headline of the report is also ominous for Spurs fans. “Operation Bale: the final straight.”
Will this one rumble on much longer? Or will Bale be a Madrid player before tea-time tomorrow? I’m guessing the former.
Losing Bale would be a huge blow for Spurs, obviously. But having resisted the urge to cash in on their prized asset for so long, will they finally give in just weeks before the new season begins?