London – The Gareth Bale transfer saga was finally concluded on Sunday night when he moved to Real Madrid for a world record £86million.
After negotiations that dragged on all summer, the Welshman has agreed a £256,000-a-week, six-year contract and will have a medical on Monday before being presented to the media.
In a move designed to keep Cristiano Ronaldo – signed for £80m in 2009 – happy at the Bernabeu, Real are claiming Bale’s fee is £78m.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas disclosed a deal had been reached minutes after seeing his side slip to a disappointing 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at bitter rivals Arsenal.
Bale said: “I would like to thank everyone at the club, the chairman, board, staff, coaches and players – and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity.
“I am not sure there is ever a good time to leave a club where I felt settled and was playing the best football of my career to date. I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams but I can honestly say this is my dream come true.
“I would not be at the level I am today were it not for Southampton and then Spurs standing by me during some of the tougher times. Tottenham will always be in my heart and I’m sure this will be a successful season for them. I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life.”
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “We had no intention of selling Gareth. But such was the attention from Real and so great his desire to join them that we took the view the player would not be sufficiently committed to our campaign. We therefore, with great reluctance, agreed to his sale.’
Bale was coveted by the Spanish giants following a series of amazing performances for Tottenham last season that landed him both the Premier League players and football writers' player of the year.
He scored 21 goals in 33 Premier League appearances, but his efforts still weren't enough to lift Spurs into the Champions League as they were edged out of fourth place by just one point by North London rivals Arsenal.
And the chance to not only play with some of the best players in the world, but also in Europe's premier club competition was a significant factor as the 24-year-old made his desire to move to Madrid clear.
Bale was criticised by Spurs' coach Andre Villas-Boas on Wednesday after he refused to attend training last week in a bid to force the move through and chairman Daniel Levy admitted the player's wishes had played a crucial role.
As a result of his rebellion Bale hasn't played at all since Spurs' pre-season friendly against Swindon Town on July 16 as he first complained of a gluteal injury and then a foot problem which kept him out of the English side's impressive start to their league campaign.
However, he has still been called up by Chris Coleman for Wales' upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia.
The move could also spark a flurry of transfer deadline day departures from the Bernabeu with Kaka set to re-join AC Milan on a free transfer.
The Brazilian has long been surplus to requirements given the wealth of attacking midfield options on offer to coach Carlo Ancelotti and the former World Player of the Year is desperate to secure first-team football ahead of the World Cup in his homeland next year.
And Mesut Ozil could also be sold to recoup some of the funds spent on Bale with Arsenal said to be strongly interested in the 45 million euro rated German international.
Ozil insisted he was ready to stay and fight for his place in the side following the arrival of Isco and now Bale last week, but he was surprisingly left on the bench by Ancelotti for Sunday's 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. – Daily Mail and Sapa-AFP