COMMENTARY | The Gareth Bale saga is getting weird.
The ordeal involving the Tottenham Hotspur star and any potential move to Real Madrid that began as early as 2011, depending on which rumors you believe, has taken just about every possible turn since the end of the 2012-13 season. Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has all along insisted that he has been told by club chairman Daniel Levy that the Welsh wonder is not for sale this summer, and Bale has not yet submitted an official transfer request. All indications now are that Bale will not again feature for Spurs until the summer window closes.If he ever does again, that is.
AVB had the following to say on Bale, who is dealing with a foot problem at the moment, when speaking with reporters on Friday: "(Bale's) mental state nobody knows because the player doesn't speak. The only thing that we are able to see or you are able to see is the player arriving in and out of the training ground. We are aware that Real Madrid are interested in the player. It doesn't mean that we are willing to negotiate on him. Our idea is to count on Gareth."
Unlike players such as Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney, both of whom have made their desires to join other clubs public this summer, Bale hasn't yet addressed the matter with the media. He was one of four Tottenham players showcased in the team's July kit release, he is seen wearing the team's new home shirt on the UK FIFA 14 cover, and he was even in a NBC Sports Premier League billboard that was located in Times Square. All of that quietly hinted that Bale would remain at White Hart Lane for at least one more season, but something apparently changed midway through the summer.
Bale, an occasional tweeter, has not taken to the social networking website since July 18. Coincidentally or not, it was right around that time that rumors began swirling online that the player's head had been turned by Spanish media outlets such as Marca and AS. Both Marca and AS have claimed more than once over the past couple of months that a Bale move to the Spanish giants was "imminent," something Villas-Boas denied earlier in August.
The story took an interesting twist on August 15, when Tony Banks of The Daily Express reported that Tottenham majority shareholder Joe Lewis was willing to free up more transfer funds than normal in order to acquire an influx of talent that would entice Bale to remain with Spurs and help the club chase the Premier League title. Along with signings Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue and Nacer Chadli, Spurs have also been linked with Roma's Erik Lamela and Ajax's Christian Eriksen. On the other hand, it's also been speculated that any of those additional acquisitions would signal that Tottenham is about to cash in on Bale. Spurs are rumored to be asking for around £90-100m for their prized player.
Bale isn't talking, Levy isn't budging, and Spurs are about to go marching into the start of the 2013-14 Premier League season, an away fixture versus Crystal Palace that the visitors are expected to win. Tottenham is then away to Dinamo Tbilisi for a Europa League Playoff on August 22, home to Swansea City on August 25, away to Dinamo Tbilisi on August 29, and then away to rivals Arsenal on September 1. It would be ideal for Spurs to have the Bale situation done and dusted before they make their journey to the hostile environment at the Emirates.
Knowing how "Levy Time" works, though, I'm not holding my breath.
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.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Gareth Bale
- Real Madrid