Gareth Bale, who turns 24 next Tuesday, is the dream signing for Florentino Pérez, Zinedine Zidane and Carlo Ancelotti. The Welshman is the man they all want to complete the seductive project the Italian coach is building at the club, and on which he will begin work on 15 July, when the players meet for pre-season training.
AS has been informed that, in addition to the signings of Isco, Carvajal and Casemiro, and with Illarramendi set to follow suite, the club are going to promote Jése and Morata, top scorers in the under-20 World Cup and under-21 European Championships respectively, to the first team.
The club view Bale as the icing on the cake of the post-Mourinho era. And they have pulled the strings to make this dream a reality.
In case there were any doubt, this newspaper was granted access to the club’s offices in the Bernabéu a few days ago. On display was next season’s Real Madrid shirt, bearing Bale’s name and the number 11, the same number the midfielder wears for Tottenham and Wales.
This is a measure of the importance Florentino and his colleagues want to give the best player in the Premier League, if his transfer is finally made possible.
“If a world class player like Bale signs for us, then of course we would give him the shirt he has always worn and the one he likes the most,” said a club employee.
Carvajal has been given the 15 shirt vacated by Essien, while the 23 Isco will wear has been free since last summer. Carvalho has left Madrid for Monaco and subsequently freed up the number 11 shirt, and the club hope that its next owner will be Bale.
If Florentino’s past behaviour in the transfer market is anything to go by, the Madrid president will fight until 31 August, the day the transfer window shuts, to convince Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to sell up.
The first contacts between the clubs were as fruitless as they were disheartening. Madrid were told 100 million euros would be the starting point, and may even have to pay up to a whopping 150 million euros. However, Florentino is adept at dealing with club head honchos, from Agnelli and Moratti to Ferguson, from whom he bought Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham and Cristiano respectively, despite all three men declaring that those players were “not for sale”.
Florentino and chief executive José Ángel Sánchez are to travel with the team to England on 21 July for the friendly with Bournemouth. On that day, Ancelotti’s Madrid will play their first game of the pre-season. Pérez and Sánchez plan to use the visit to meet with a contact from Spurs to discuss the move further.
What is certain is that Madrid will not be backed into paying 100 million euros for Bale. But nor are they ruling out offering Spurs a player or two in order to make the operation a bit cheaper.