The Gareth Bale transfer saga is finally over. The Tottenham superstar joins Real Madrid on a six-year contract, and will be presented at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday afternoon.
It seems a long time since the question regarding Gareth Bale was “will he or won’t he?” For a while now, it has mostly been a question of “when?” and “how much?” And despite Daniel Levy’s foot-dragging recalcitrance, all is finally answered. On Sunday evening, Real Madrid posted to their official website:
Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Gareth Bale, who is tied to the club for the next six seasons. The player will be presented tomorrow Monday, September 2, at 13:00 hours, in the royal box of Santiago Bernabeu stadium, after undergoing a corresponding medical examination. Afterwards, Gareth Bale will tread the Santiago Bernabeu pitch for the first time in a Real Madrid shirt and will address the media in the press room.
Bale’s record-shattering transfer has been rumored since last night, when it was said that the two clubs had finally made a breakthrough and agreed on a deal. The fee is estimated to be somewhere between £78 million (£2m less than Ronaldo) and £86 million (world record).
Bale has been with Tottenham since 2007. During his six-year tenure in North London, Bale scored 42 goals in 146 appearances, and in 2013 alone won the PFA Young Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year, and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards. His meteoric career trajectory now takes him to that promised land for so many footballers: the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has been vocal of his wish to sign Bale, and as with many things that Perez wishes, it has come to pass. Reactions have been mixed, however, even from within the Madrid camp. Ex-President Ramon Calderon publicly criticized Perez:
“The president in some cases is behaving with a bit of arrogance. When you are very powerful, like Real Madrid is, you have to be humble. It is what I did. You can’t go over the world just pushing things to the limit.”
Calderon also claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo would be less than thrilled with Bale’s arrival. And perhaps Ronaldo is not the only worry. The Welsh winger’s advent has unleashed a flood of speculation regarding Mesut Özil’s future at Real Madrid. The Spanish club already have a star-studded roster in midfield. Even with Kaka’s imminent departure, there are more world-class players than roles to fill, and it remains to be seen if Özil wishes to remain under such conditions.
Real Madrid do not look quite done yet in the transfer market, whether it be for players incoming or outgoing. But for Tottenham, this Gareth Bale transfer settles the looming question of their summer, and his handsome fee should go a long way towards settling the accounts, as well.