Tottenham Hotspur reportedly have a first-refusal option up until June 2019 should Real Madrid receive a bid for Gareth Bale from a Premier League club.
As reported by Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa and Pablo Polo of Marca, the Football Leaks website has released a set of documents claiming to show the Welshman's contract with the Santiago Bernabeu side. And among many interesting details, it's suggested Spurs can act as an obstacle to any Premier League rival looking to sign Bale.
"Tottenham covered themselves against the possibility of Real Madrid selling Bale to a fellow Premier League side," write Garcia-Ochoa and Polo. "Until the 30th June 2019, Spurs have the right of first refusal on any bid for the Welshman, a condition that expires 72 hours after Real Madrid inform the North Londoners of any offers received."
Andrew Gaffney of Yahoo thinks the decision to include this stipulation was a smart one from the Tottenham hierarchy:
Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC
Still can’t see Bale leaving any time soon but there’s comfort to be had in knowing Levy (& Bale) left a Spurs return very much possible.1/21/2016, 12:49:41 AM
Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, has expressed his dismay at these documents being leaked into the public domain, per the Telegraph (h/t Kevin Palmer of the Irish Independent):
There should be an inquiry and an independent investigation because it’s outrageous.
There also needs to be an apology from the Football Association to the clubs and the player.
I think it’s disgraceful that people can get hold of this sort of stuff. It shows complete disregard for both clubs and the player.
The clause's very existence offers new light on the many rumours linking Manchester United to the forward.
According to Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times, the Red Devils had been plotting a £90 million summer move for Bale, although this report surfaced before it was confirmed Real would be serving a one-year transfer ban from the summer.
It seems, should United move for Bale, Spurs would have first say over the deal.
Bale has been a success since moving from White Hart Lane to the Santiago Bernabeu. Here are some of his best moments in the iconic all-white jersey:
Although some would argue the Welshman still has some way to go to live up to the tag of the most expensive player in the game's history, this alleged contract leak casts aspersions over the exact amount Bale cost too.
Javier Hernandez and Carlos Forjanes of AS write Bale cost Real more than €100 million: "The six-page document reveals that, under Madrid's preferred payment plan of instalments, the price was €99,749,542 (plus a solidarity contribution of €1,015,875). In total, €100,759,418, more than the €96 million that they spent on signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United."
Hernandez and Forjanes also report that as part of the transfer it's claimed Los Blancos abandoned the rights to any amounts owed for Tottenham's capture of Rafael van der Vaart. It's also noted that Real had a choice of options on how to pay the fee and that the sum quoted in public equates to a lower amount of €91,589,842.
The leaks add fuel to the claims made by Northcroft to BBC Radio 5 Live earlier this year that, during an interview with the Welshman, he had been asked by Real officials not to refer to Bale's cost, as "Ronaldo doesn't like to see that someone else cost more than him."
Sportingintelligence noted another clause included in the deal which could have been to Tottenham's benefit:
Nick Harris @sportingintel
If Real Madrid had sold Bale to a Premier League club before 1 Sep 2015, they would've had to pay Spurs £10m!1/20/2016, 11:23:08 PM
Since joining the Madrid giants, Bale has endured some ups and downs and while he's currently sidelined with an injury, the current term is the one in which he's showcased his best form. Already this season he has notched 13 goals and eight assists in 15 La Liga appearances.
At the moment, it looks very unlikely he'll be going anywhere, given his form and that Real—even if they did choose to cash in—wouldn't be able to bring in a replacement until the summer of 2017.
Spurs' reported clause, even though they probably wouldn't be able to afford the price needed to prise Bale from Madrid, would only serve to complicate matters for any potential suitors.