COMMENTARY | What will likely go down as a historic transfer saga involving current Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale has taken many a turn since well before the start of summer.
Bale being used in the team's kit revealing event and also as a Times Square poster-boy to promote the Premier League moving to NBC all meant that the Welsh wonder was staying at Tottenham. A transfer fee that has risen from £50m to somewhere in the £85m range and comments made by those at Real Madrid and in the Spanish press apparently resulted in the player's head being turned, indicating that Bale leaving for Spain was a matter of "when" and not "if." Then came a sentence out of the mouth of Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, a statement of defiance sent to both Bale and to the Spanish giants who have gotten used to getting their way when it comes to these matters.
"The only thing we have communicated (to Real Madrid) is that the player is our player and is not for sale."
In under 10 seconds, Villas-Boas sent Tottenham fans posting on sites such as Twitter and Facebook into delirium. Not only had the club brought in talent and done so before the end of the transfer window. Spurs were keeping their top player for at least one more season, a move that could represent the final piece of Tottenham's Champions League puzzle that had gone missing over the past couple of years.
That, as all diehard football fans know, is not necessarily the case regarding Bale. Statements like the one made by AVB this past weekend are often merely part of negotiations that end with the player in question making a move to the club of his choice. Regardless of what Villas-Boas or Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy say, I absolutely believe that there is some price in mind that would be accepted for the man who played the role of Spurs savior time and time again last season. Whether or not Real Madrid will match that valuation has yet to be determined.
Villas-Boas, intentionally or not, launched a four-entity game of chicken that could reach its end before Tottenham plays its first Premier League game of the upcoming season. Levy has a long history of not flinching in these scenarios, so Real Madrid will likely have to budge and submit what would be an astronomical offer for Bale. Even if that does occur, Bale may have to force Levy's hand with a gesture that, according to most reports, isn't coming anytime soon.
That Bale has told both Villas-Boas and Levy that he wants to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world seems believable enough. Bale is not Luka Modric, however, in that he does not see himself as being too big to play at White Hart Lane. He is unsettled, sure, but he's never displayed any unhappiness as a Tottenham player, not even when training with the club this summer. His much-publicized "bromance" with AVB has even been cited as a reason for why Bale wouldn't force an exit, at least not this summer.
Bale is set to return to training with Tottenham on Tuesday. Real Madrid has not yet submitted an improved offer. Nobody at Spurs has said anything that contradicts the comments made by Villas-Boas on Saturday. Regardless of all rumors and opinions, all indications right now are that Bale will be a Spurs player through the end of the transfer window.
That could all change in an instant, though, if one party involved flinches.
For more: Bale billboard.
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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