Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas just poured a gallon of gasoline on the Gareth Bale fire.
Villas-Boas reportedly said the 24-year-old Welshman will not participate in the Premier League club's start of the season, according to The Guardian, further fanning the transfer flames about his anticipated world-record move to Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are reportedly offering as much as £86 million for Bale, which would exceed the fee they handed Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. Those kind of funds could put Tottenham into another stratosphere in the EPL, as the London club would immediately become the frontrunners in the transfer market to land multiple top young players.
Bale, responsible for 21 goals last season, sat out Wales’s 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday with a foot injury, but his absence from Tottenham’s opener could be a sign that a deal with Madrid is imminent.
Several reports over the last month have suggested that Bale is more than open to a switch to Madrid, and that a deal was supposed to be consummated earlier this week. Madrid team president Florentino Perez has pulled out all of the stops to lure Bale this summer. Luka Modric and Alvaro Morata have reportedly been linked to several offers for Bale, along with a hefty transfer fee.
Perez and his side will have until Sept. 2 to conclude the Bale saga, but do have two other moves to consider in the meantime.
While Bale might be on his way to the Bernabeu, a notable name could be on the way out. Manchester City are reportedly near the end of their rope, and are offering a final £20 million bid for defender Pepe, according to the Daily Mail. The 30-year-old Portuguese center back returned to his national club on Wednesday in a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, and could be a part of a City squad that has already spent £90 million on new players like Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, and Stevan Jovetic, as reported by the Mirror.
Pepe has spent the last six years with Madrid, making 138 appearances, but too many factors are pushing him out: his advanced age, the cost of Bale, and younger players like Raphael Varane and Nacho nipping for an opportunity. Pepe has been linked with a move to Manchester City for much of the summer.
The move for Bale is also causing ripples across the Madrid midfield, with Sami Khedira’s agent reportedly reaching out to Paris Saint-Germain. It is believed that new boss Carlo Ancelotti’s bid for Casemiro has given Khedira reason enough to seek a new club, according to Marca.
Khedira’s playing time was far more certain under former manager Jose Mourinho, and overall he’s made 78 appearances and scored five goals since moving to Madrid in 2010. He could net Madrid as much as £20 million, Khedira’s current market value.