London - Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was on Wednesday night locked in negotiations to finalise Gareth Bale’s world record £93.8 million (more than R1.5bn) transfer to Real Madrid.
Levy spent the day haggling over the sale of the Wales star, making sure his club received as much money as possible for their 24-year-old talisman.
Madrid chiefs have grown frustrated at Levy’s hardball approach, and his tough stance was maintained on Wednesday during another day of high-level negotiations.
Levy is adamant that Fabio Coentrao’s pending switch to White Hart Lane should remain separate from Bale’s transfer, while Real Madrid chiefs want to use the left back as a makeweight in the deal.
Speaking ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League qualifier against Dinamo Tbilisi, Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted a deal for Bale was not complete. But Real chiefs are confident the transfer, which will eclipse Madrid’s £80m world record capture of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, will go through before the September 2 deadline.
All the indications point to the forward’s imminent exit. Having already spent close to £60m on Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue, Levy, director of football Franco Baldini and Villas-Boas continue to strengthen Spurs’ squad.
Anzhi Makhachkala forward Willian is almost certain to join in a £30m deal, and the club were in advanced talks on Thursday with Roma to land Argentinian forward Erik Lamela, another deal that could be worth around £30m.
Given UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, spending what could be around £120m, without selling prized asset Bale, is highly unlikely.
When asked directly whether the deal to take Bale to Madrid was complete, Villas-Boas replied: “I can’t tell you anything about that. That is not true.”
But when pressed, the Portuguese manager’s stance appeared to soften.
“Ideally we want to keep everyone to make us stronger - that is the objective of the club. But we are dragging ourselves into the last weeks of transfer activity and it can become very, very frantic. We will continue to do some activity in the market, both ways.”
Losing Bale would be a bitter blow to Spurs’ campaign but after their mega-spending spree, Villas-Boas insists his side - even without the Welsh flyer - will be stronger than last season.
The ex-Porto coach added: “On the players that we have signed, it shows we have tremendous ambition.
“We look forward to being stronger than the year before, and I firmly believe we can be stronger. What we are doing at the moment shows our intentions.
“We are not only trimming the squad but adding tremendous talent. I think we can become very, very strong in relation to what we were last season.
“It depends on the deals we are able to complete before the market finishes - and it hasn’t finished yet for us.”
Villas-Boas stopped short of claiming his side could compete for the Barclays Premier League this season, adding: ‘I don’t agree that we can be title contenders this season because everything is happening, everything is changing.
“We have to create a team at the moment from all these new players that we have bought. We haven’t had lots of time to work with them but I believe that in the future, we can definitely achieve it.
“There are very strong sides in England - there is massive investment. In my opinion it is the best league in the world and continues to attract the best players.
“What we are building is a very, very strong side for the future, alongside massive investment in the structures of the club. So that (title) dream can hopefully happen in a couple of years.” - Daily Mail