Real claim Bale wants switch to Madrid
Confusion as sources claim player's agent has already agreed terms with Spanish giants
Real Madrid have launched a new offensive for Gareth Bale by claiming the player has told Tottenham Hotspur that he wants to leave and has already agreed terms to join the Spanish club.
Sources close to club president Florentino Perez have claimed that Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, met Real Madrid director general Jose Angel Sanchez – the man who engineered David Beckham's move to Real in 2003 – in Madrid on June 25 and agreed a six-season deal worth £8.6m a year.
In the alleged meeting – in which Barnett was even said to have been shown this year's Real Madrid shirt with Bale's name and the No 11 on it – Madrid reportedly plotted a way of breaking the resistance of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
Madrid would ideally like Bale to hand in a transfer request but see the next best thing as a public claim that he wants to join them now, and Bale choosing not to issue any denials.
Real also hope that Bale's refusal to sign a new deal at White Hart Lane will encourage Levy to sell this summer and not next year when the player will have only two years left on his contract.
Madrid's pursuit of Bale appeared to have been put back to next season after the club failed to meet the £100m asking price, especially as they have been unable to sell Fabio Coentrao, Angel di Maria and Kaka so far this summer. The latest tactic is being seen as a last-ditch attempt at forcing through the deal now at a reduced price.
Madrid-based newspaper Marca has suggested that Real Madrid have already tabled a bid of £70m plus Portuguese full-back Coentrao and that Perez now wants a meeting with Levy in the United States this August, when Real Madrid play games in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Miami and Saint Louis on their pre-season tour.
But a £70m bid from a Premier League rival is even less likely to shift the player this summer than an offer from abroad.
Tottenham preferred to do business with Real Madrid over Manchester United last summer when selling Luka Modric and Real hope that the Bale saga will end the same way, albeit in a year's time if this latest and probably last attempt to force a move now fails.
Tottenham have stressed both publicly and privately that their stance is unaffected by Madrid's latest manoeuvring.
"Gareth is one of the most fantastic players in the world at the moment and someone that we want to keep with us," Andre Villas-Boas said yesterday.
Bale will not feature against Sunderland in the Asia-Trophy today after sustaining a knock in training, but is expected to play some part of a match in Hong Kong on Saturday, when Spurs will face Manchester City or South China.
Villas-Boas, meanwhile, confirmed Tottenham's interest in Valencia striker Roberto Soldado and the club remain hopeful of signing the 28-year-old who scored 24 league goals last season, despite director of football Franco Baldini returning from Valencia yesterday without a deal in place.
Tottenham are believed to have triggered the striker's £24m release clause, however, the Spaniards are holding out for more.
"Everyone knows we have been looking for a striker to strengthen our squad and to have more strength in depth," Villas-Boas said.
"Roberto is one of the players we have been following and his career speaks for itself. He's a great striker."
Villas-Boas also announced that Danny Rose, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, will be required at Tottenham when the new campaign begins.
"Danny has had an excellent season. He's one of the players that we all want for our future," Villas-Boas said.
"It was one of those occasions where it's all worked out extremely well for him and he will definitely be part of our squad this season.
"Credit to him for making it work. This year he'll want to be involved with Tottenham and hopefully he'll have a big future ahead of him." (© Daily Telegraph, London)