Gareth Bale is “better than Neymar” and “would listen” to an offer from Real Madrid, the Tottenham player’s agent said on Tuesday.
Interviewed on Marca TV’s Futboleros program, Jonathan Barnett insisted his client was superior to the Barcelona-bound Brazilian, adding, “I would hope that any club who wants [Bale] wants him not because they lost Neymar. I would think he’d have to be their first choice.” (Marca)
Barnett also seemed to suggest both he and Bale were open to the possibility of negotiating a move to Real Madrid.
“If somebody like [Madrid president] Perez was interested in Gareth Bale it would be a great honour and we would listen,” he said. “But,” he went on, “he’s under contract at Tottenham.”
He has three years remaining on his deal at White Hart Lane, to be precise—the sort of length that leaves much of the leverage with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
So if Bale was actually set on a move to the Spanish capital, his only point of recourse would be to table a formal transfer request and then hope Levy—a notoriously tough negotiator—would acquiesce.
And there is no guarantee that would happen. Just ask Luka Modric.
In the summer of 2011, Modric made an unsuccessful attempt to orchestrate a switch to local rivals Chelsea. He went so far as to sit out Spurs’ first match of the season in protest, but when it became clear Levy wasn’t prepared to sell him, he returned to the squad and went on to appear in 36 Premier League matches—the most of his four-year tenure in English football.
Last summer, of course, he finally made his exit, joining Real Madrid in exchange for £33 million. And in October he encouraged Bale to follow him to La Liga, telling reporters, “He should play for Real Madrid, and I hope he’ll come.” (BBC)
Madrid ambassador Zinedine Zidane is also thought to be keen on acquiring the Welshman, and, according to Marca, could function as the point-man in concluding a deal expected to be worth upwards of €70 million.
But would it be the right move for the player? Would Gareth Bale—just 23 years of age and coming off a breakthrough season—be best served by leaving Spurs to join one of the biggest clubs in the world?
Every indication, at least based on last season’s showing, would seem to point to a comfortable transition at Real Madrid.
Bale’s height, speed and physical strength would serve him well in La Liga, and for a previous example, all one has to do is look at Cristiano Ronaldo, who has many of the same attributes.
Ronaldo, who departed Manchester United when he was only a year older than Bale is now, took to the ground running at the Santiago Bernabeu, scoring five goals in his first five matches for his new club while averaging nearly six shots per game.
If anything, Bale would likely find himself with more opportunities in front of goal than he presently does at Spurs, and the prospect of interplay between himself and Ronaldo is a mouth-watering one, indeed.
Both players can play either on the left flank or just behind a central striker, and Ronaldo can function alone up top and on the right side of the attack as well.
It’s in the latter position he’d likely find himself most often if Bale joined him at Madrid, with his new teammate operating either on the left or in the middle.
The only loser in such an arrangement would be Tottenham, but then again, they are the party holding all the cards.
“We’re not free to talk to anybody at this point in time,” concluded Barnett.
Not yet, anyway.
A summer of drama awaits.