It looks as though Real Madrid's interest in Gareth Bale is about to come to a head, as the Spanish giants have made it known they won't dangle their record bid in front of Tottenham for long.
From John Cross of the Mirror:
Gareth Bale has told Spurs he wants to talk to Real Madrid about a world record transfer.
The Spanish giants are warning he is being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—and they want the deal done quickly or they will look elsewhere.
Here's more from that report:
Mirror Sport understands Manchester United are still waiting in the wings to move should Tottenham decide to sell.
Welsh flier Bale now at least wants to listen to what Real Madrid have to say—and the Spanish club see that as a clear sign that he is up for the move. [Real Madrid president] Perez is desperately trying to turn up the heat on Spurs while safe in the knowledge that Bale is interested in the switch.
Real Madrid are ready to smash the world transfer record—set four years ago when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for £80m—to land Bale.
[Tottenham chairmen Daniel] Levy is understood to be adamant that Bale is not for sale and has assured Spurs boss Villas-Boas the club will resist any offer. But Real Madrid are ready to come back with a new bid after being told the £51m in cash plus Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao—worth £95 million—is of no interest to Spurs.
Frankly, Levy would be crazy not to take that deal. Di Maria and Coentrao are both very good players, and £51 million is nothing to sneeze at.
Of course, Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail is reporting that Levy would accept a deal if Real Madrid "offer a world record fee—plus a player," so who knows what's actually going on.
Here's the thing—if Bale doesn't depart this summer, he probably will next summer, or the summer of after that. But it's highly unlikely Spurs will ever get a more lucrative offer than this one.
He could get hurt. His production could stagnate. Real Madrid could find a cheaper alternative and forget about him. Why not cash out now for a player that is unlikely to stay anyway?
I understand Tottenham's reluctance. Without Bale, it will be quite difficult for Spurs to reach the Champions League and all of the money that brings with it. In essence, Spurs are weighing a difficult proposition here—do they cash out now, or do they keep playing and hope to win a few more lucrative hands?
The safer bet is cashing those chips in now. And it would be very surprising if Levy didn't concede that fact and move Bale this summer.