Real Madrid sporting director Zinedine Zidane has hinted that the club may be prepared to pay a record-breaking sum for their leading summer transfer target, Gareth Bale. There has been much speculation over the Tottenham attacker’s future after his club failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Madrid have been long-term suitors of the Wales international and Bale’s agent recently suggested the player would be interested were the Spanish giants to make an offer.
Former Madrid and Juventus great Zidane has been effusive in his praise for Bale, but believes it could take an offer in excess of the £80 million Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 to persuade Spurs to sell.
“The talk about Gareth Bale is not a surprise,” Zidane said, according to the Daily Mail. “It is impossible to have the season he just had and not be linked with the biggest clubs in Europe. “If any club is going to tempt Spurs, then it will take big money -- maybe even record-breaking money. There are four or five clubs at the moment who have the finances not to be put off by a record-breaking fee like that.”
There has yet to be further developments on a new contract that Bale was reportedly set to be offered, but the 23-year-old’s latest comments about Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas suggest that he is happy to remain at the club.
"He has helped me in all aspects of my game," Bale said, according to Sky Sports. "In training we have been working on things that I can do in games and in games he has given me the confidence to do what I want and do what I do best, which is a massive thing for a player.
"Everyone was excited about him coming in. He is a young manager and he has got a great past at Porto. Maybe not so much at Chelsea but given time, like he has been this season, he has shown what a good manager he is. It has been a very exciting time for the club.”
If Bale does arrive then, with Cristiano Ronaldo set to stay, it could mean the end of Angel di Maria’s time at the Bernabeu. There has been much speculation over the winger’s future and the Sunday People reports that new Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini wants to pursue a £30 million move for the Argentina international. It may be, though, that a decision over Di Maria’s future will not be taken until a new manager is appointed.
One player that does look set to leave Madrid, regardless of their managerial situation is Gonzalo Higuain. The striker has revealed his desire for a move this summer and both Arsenal and Juventus are reported to have opened talks over a transfer. Indeed, leading decision makers from Madrid and Juventus met in the Spanish capital on Sunday, according to Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport. Madrid are thought to be holding out for €30 million (£25.5m) for the 25-year-old, while Juventus have so far offered €22 million (£18.7m).
Madrid will be looking for a striker to replace Higuain and they could yet make a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski. Despite the Poland striker having agreed personal terms with Bayern Munich, Dortmund are adamant that they will not be selling him to their main rivals. “Robert Lewandowski will definitely not move to Bayern Munich in 2013,” Dortmund president Hans-Joachin Watzke told German publication Bild. “This is final.”
With just a year remaining on his contract, Lewandowski could leave for Bayern on a free transfer in a year’s time, however, Dortmund could yet push him to join another club and ensure that they still receive a fee for the player. If that is the case then Madrid, along with Manchester United and Chelsea could well come back into the frame.