Madrid deal offers great opportunity for Gareth Bale – but will he take it?

By Mark Dreyer Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-25 23:28:01

Every year in the English Premier League, there is at least one protracted transfer saga. This year's candidate is Gareth Bale, the Tottenham midfielder who seems certain to end up at Real Madrid after months of ­negotiation and speculation.

What makes this year's ­edition particularly notable is that Bale looks likely to be sold for a world record transfer fee, eclipsing the $130 million Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. It is an extraordinary amount of money, and would appear to make a mockery of the new financial fair play rules designed to stop clubs from spending beyond their means in the pursuit of glory.

It is also a risk. Bale appears to be a grounded individual, but there is a long line of ­players from the United Kingdom who have failed to settle in ­Europe. In short, Brits don't travel well. Bale will need to learn the language quickly, and adapt his playing style to suit his new teammates.

Real Madrid ­manager Carlo Ancelotti will also need to work out how two similar players in Ronaldo and Bale can play in the same side.

Tottenham paid Southampton about $11 million for Bale back in 2007, so the profit they will bank represents an extremely shrewd piece of business. Southampton, incidentally, were later forced to waive their percentage of the sell-on fee for Bale in return for a small cash sum to stave off ­bankruptcy - yet more good business for Spurs. But for all the money the London club will receive, they will miss Bale's talent desperately, and with the transfer window closing in a few days' time, that money won't be spent on new players until January at the earliest.

It is undeniably a fantastic opportunity move for Bale. He will play in the UEFA Champions League, representing one of the biggest clubs in the world, and if the 24-year-old successfully adapts to life in Spain, he has the potential to go down in history as one of the greats.

But perhaps the biggest winners from this deal is the Dubai-based airlines, ­Emirates. As the club's shirt sponsor, Emirates pays Real Madrid $39 million a year - about half of what Chevrolet will pay Manchester United next season. But the sight of Bale in a Real Madrid jersey will be beamed around the world - and it won't cost Emirates a penny.

The author is a Beijing-based freelance writer.

Posted in: Extra Time

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