Questions continue to be raised in Spain over the wisdom of Real Madrid’s pursuit of Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale.
It is expected that Bale will make a world-record move to the Bernabeu before the close of the transfer window, with Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas revealing that the player is currently giving the club the silent treatment.
However, Villas-Boas also said that “ideally” Bale will remain at White Hart Lane, and negotiations over the fee and payment schedule between Madrid president Florentino Perez and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy have been tough.
Madrid’s huge debts have led many to question whether the move -- which the Daily Telegraph believes would cost £200 million in transfer fee and wages -- makes sense. Pundits, meanwhile, have wondered where the Wales international would fit in, given the excellent pre-season form of Isco, and the success of the possession-based midfield style new coach Carlo Ancelotti has been using.
Marca remains convinced the deal will go through, announcing on its cover on Friday morning that Bale had three possible teams for the coming season: Madrid, Madrid or Madrid. However, rival newspaper AS featured a piece from editor Alfredo Relano expressing his growing concerns about the transfer.
"As the days pass, it seems Bale's signing for Madrid comes closer and closer in an inexorable way, and each day I hear more doubts,” Relano wrote. “Doubts about the price, above all, and for the little need to make the signing."
Similar doubts appear to have surfaced among both players and staff at the Bernabeu, too, particularly given the likely €100 million-plus fee, as well as a reported €9 million-a-year net salary, which would make him the third best-paid player at the club, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.
AS believes other high-profile players at the club, including Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria, are not impressed at the prospect of dropping below Bale on the salary scale, and are wary of the possible threat to their starting spots in the side.
Ronaldo is also said to be keen to retain his status as the world’s most expensive player, while the Portugal international apparently asked senior club figures not to sell Di Maria. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are reportedly among the clubs interested in Di Maria, with Perez said to be keen to bring in around €30 million for the Argentina winger to help balance the books.
Marcelo was the latest Madrid player to be asked about Bale’s potential arrival, but the Brazil international gave little backing to the pursuit.
"The president and the coach are the ones who must be in agreement to sign him,” Marcelo said in AS. “I do not make the decisions."