The transfer of the summer now appears merely a matter of hours away from being confirmed, and it could yet trigger further ins and outs at the Bernabeu before the end of the transfer window. According to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, among other sources, the transfer of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid will be officially announced on Friday. The delay in the confirmation of the deal is reportedly so it doesn’t overshadow a match to pay tribute to club legend Raul on Thursday evening.
Cadena Cope reports that Madrid will pay over €99 million to finally secure the Welsh attacker after a pursuit that has been ongoing for much of the summer. It is still remains to be seen whether Fabio Coentrao will be included in the deal. Marca has reported that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy wants to keep the deals separate and sell Bale for the maximum price, €109 million. Madrid, on the other hand, are said to be eager to negotiate a price of €86 million plus Coentrao.
Certainly, though, the transfer now appears a matter of time. Further confirmation of such appeared to have been shown by Madrid temporarily having an option on the website of their club shop to purchase a shirt with “Bale 11” printed on the back.
Bale’s arrival has not been the only big transfer speculation involving Real Madrid in recent days. BBC Sport has reported that Arsenal are preparing deals for Madrid pair Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria. With Bale coming in, it is certainly easy to imagine Di Maria heading in the other direction. Madrid already have a host of attacking midfielders and Di Maria was only afforded an appearance off the bench in the opening match of the club’s La Liga season on Sunday.
Benzema appears more of a complex case. Arsenal, which failed in their attempts to sign Gonzalo Higuain earlier in the summer, are believed to be willing to spend £40 million (€34.3m) to land the France international forward. That money would doubtless be tempting to Madrid, with Bale set to take their summer spending to around an extraordinary €175 million. From a personnel standpoint, though, coach Carlo Ancelotti may not be so keen.
With Higuain already gone, if Benzema follows then Madrid would be left with just 20-year-old Alvaro Morata as an established option to lead the line. Of course, Bale coming in could see Cristiano Ronaldo moving to a central attacking role, but Ancelotti is likely to want another option.
And that could yet lead Madrid to reignite their interest in Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. A deal to take the Uruguayan to Los Merengues was reportedly close earlier in the summer when Suarez revealed that he wanted to leave Anfield and desired a move to the nine-time European Cup winners. But that talk went cold as Arsenal pursued the former Ajax man.
That deal now appears dead, though, after Liverpool categorically stated that Suarez would not be allowed to join their rivals for a Champions League spot. While Suarez’s relationship with Liverpool is now thought to have, at least partially, healed, interest from Madrid could yet change that. Suarez’s motivation to leave would surely be more intense with the allure of Madrid and Liverpool would likely be more inclined to sell to a club outside of the Premier League.
Spanish soccer expert Graham Hunter is of the opinion that the idea of exchanging Benzema for Suarez is firmly in Madrid’s thoughts.
“The dream for Madrid is not simply to complete the [Gareth] Bale deal but to swap around their strikeforce,” he told Talksport. “Benzema has not convinced over the last ten months and was booed off at the weekend when substituted, despite scoring. Madrid see a scenario where they are willing to trade Benzema to get the money to try to go after [Luis] Suarez. That’s their strategy.”