For the past two months, Gareth Bale has been heavily linked to Real Madrid. First, it was as a potential backup plan in case the team couldn't land Neymar. Then, it was as a potential replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo in case the team's star decided to return to Manchester United.
But Neymar is at Barcelona, while at the moment it seems likely Ronaldo will remain at Madrid. So now, landing Bale is about just one thing—building a team that is the best in Europe. And boy, the paring of Ronaldo and Bale on the wings sure would be frightening.
But is signing Bale the top priority? You might think so, but according to his agent the team hasn't even made an offer to Tottenham yet for the Welshman's services.
Gareth Bale agent Jonathan Barnett says there has been no offer yet from Real Madrid for the Tottenham midfielder.
Barnett says talks are still to take place between the two clubs despite £80m-rated Bale being targeted as a priority by Real president Florentino Perez.
Barnett, talking to 'Futboleros' on Marca TV said: "Bale has not said no, nor yes. There's no offer from Madrid; they have to talk between themselves and we will see what happens.
"He was at Malaga airport [on Tuesday], he's been in Marbella on holiday. He comes back to Tottenham for pre-season training next week."
Re-signing Ronaldo may appear to be the team's top priority, and indeed, losing the star winger would be disastrous. But what if Ronaldo has already decided he wants to move on? What if the team is going to lose him no matter what contract offer they make?
That may seem unlikely—we all know that money talks—but it is a possibility. And that makes securing Bale's signature this summer all the more important.
There is really no downside to making Bale the team's top priority. If Ronaldo leaves, a replacement has already been secured. If he stays, the team has the best pair of wide players in the world, and Barcelona's addition of Neymar has been countered.
And this seems like the summer to bring Bale aboard. Real Madrid have been the primary suitor for Bale over the past two months, but if he tears up the Premier League again next season, teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United may drive his price up even further by entering the fray.
Real Madrid hasn't been terribly busy yet this summer, so making a big splash will be important. Yes, they added a new manager in Carlo Ancelotti. Yes, they made what I believe will end up being one of the best signings of the summer, adding burgeoning star Isco.
And yes, a new contract for Ronaldo that would signal the star's intent to finish his career in Madrid would be huge.
But for now—at least out on the transfer market—it's been a fairly tame summer for Los Blancos. Perhaps all of their energy is going into bringing Bale aboard?
If that's the case, good on Real Madrid. Adding Bale would be a game-changer this summer in a year when Europe's elite have already made huge moves, with Barcelona adding Neymar and Bayern Munich bringing on Mario Gotze.
Bale could shift the balance of power toward Los Blancos. Doing so must be the team's top priority.