As the tabloids warm up their ‘Bale Madrid’ headlines I cannot help but reflect on the joyous leap my heart took at the end of last season when I read the Daniel Levy had stated for the record that Gareth Bale was not for sale at any price. In between then and now there has been more in the press about Gareth Bale than about the Royal baby. The phrase mixed messages would be the understatement of the decade. However, reassurance took place a week or so ago when, at the post Monaco press conference, Villas Boas reiterated on camera that “Gareth Bale is not for sale at any price.” At this point one would expect all negotiations with Real Madrid regarding Gareth Bale to stop . Clearly this has not happened and the fans are left drawing the only possible conclusion that the opposite is the case and the line between what Levy says and what Levy means is not only blurred, it’s pretty much invisible.
Now I know the dreadful Spaniards are talking about an obscene amount of money but there are several other factors that have a bearing here.
First, no team with genuine title ambitions can afford to sell its best players. Manchester United and Liverpool have made their positions regarding Rooney and Suarez absolutely clear in this respect. Told that he has to stay for another season there’s no doubt that Bale would probably sulk for a while and his Manager, Jonathan (‘This is the biggest payday of my life’) Barnett would rant to the press. But ultimately I suspect Bale would then knuckle down, his ‘injuries’ would miraculously heal and he would give us another great season.
Second, Real don’t have the money. Hell they haven’t finished paying for Modric yet. Facing a possible outlay of nearly £200 million on one player (including wages, taxes etc.) they will want to spread their payments over years. That’s fair enough but even if Spurs receive a decent down payment, that wouldn’t necessarily help us much with only a few days left to the start of the season. Last-Minute Levy would find himself without the time to buy any of the 200 players we appear to be linked with. And even less time to bed them in for a good start; which brings me to my third point.
This whole mismanaged farrago has, yet again, assured us of a lousy pre-season. If it drags on to the end of the month we’ll have new players introducing themselves to the team on a match day, in a scene resembling any given Sunday on Hackney Marshes. It wouldn’t surprise me if Arsenal, who needed new players more than we did by the end of last season, find that cohesiveness that has been clearly absent from our own pre-season.
Finally, if AVB has made his post-match statement believing himself to echo the sentiments of Daniel Levy, then what does that say about their relationship? More importantly, what are the likely repercussions for the future?
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