Gareth Bale is said to be deeply unhappy with the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, over his refusal to hold talks over a transfer to Real Madrid.
ESPN FC was told at the weekend that Spurs had yet to respond to Madrid’s €100 million (£86.3 million) bid for Bale, and The Guardian reports that the Wales international has been left “distraught” by the club’s refusal to consider the offer, which exceeds the record £80 million fee the Spanish club paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
The Times, meanwhile, says the 24-year-old believed that, when committing to a new contract at White Hart Lane last year, he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with Levy that he would be allowed to depart should such a sizeable bid arrive. Madrid are apparently keen for him to submit a formal transfer request.
Bale’s contract is due to expire in 2016 and Spurs have stressed on numerous occasions over the summer that the player will not be sold, but head coach Andre Villas-Boas — who had last week insisted the player was "not for sale at any price" — sounded less defiant on the subject over the weekend.
"I don't want to comment on anything like that," Villas-Boas said. "I cannot speak about anything."
Pressed as to whether Bale had asked to leave, he replied: “I cannot speak about this.”
Spurs have become renowned for their stubborn approach to the market in recent years as the likes of Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric have pressed for moves, but David Pleat, who had previously worked under Levy as Tottenham’s director of football, believes the club will have to consider a world-record fee.
"I don’t think there’s panic at the club," Pleat said in The Times. "The press were talking £50 million, £60 million this summer. This could rise to something crazy like £100 million, which would blow any club out of the water. Even Tottenham, who have resisted strongly, may have to look at it. Manchester United couldn’t resist it for Ronaldo."