Tottenham Hotspur have finally agreed the world-record 100 million euros transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
An official announcement is due to be made as early as tomorrow. The details of Bale's dream move to Real were thrashed out a meeting in Madrid between the club's president Florentino Perez, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, Spurs technical director Franco Baldini and the player's representative Jonathan Barnett over the last few days.
Significantly, the agreement involves a straight cash deal with no players coming from Real to Spurs as had been earlier discussed when inquiries were made about striker Alvaro Morata and left-back Fabio Coentrao. Bale is in Malaga, at a villa believed to be owned by another of his representatives, David Manasseh, who works for the Stellar Group which is headed by Barnett.
The 24 year-old flew into Spain on Saturday, on a private jet, and spent yesterday behind the walls of the gated complex awaiting the green light on the deal.
The luxury complex was being staked out yesterday by the expectant Spanish media. He will travel to Madrid for a formal medical and to sign what is expected to be a six-year contract, believed to be worth 8.5 million pounds a year before tax, and could also be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tomorrow.
A stage has already been erected on the eastern side of the 85,000-seat stadium alongside the directors box. Real play away to Granada tonight and are home to Athletic Bilbao next Sunday in what is now expected to be Bale's debut appearance. The fee beats the pounds 80?million record that Cristiano Ronaldo set when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 although it falls short of the 120 million euros that Spurs were at one time quoting to let Bale go. Perez responded by suggesting that 100 million euros was "a lot" for Bale but Spurs knew he was desperate to sign the player - and was under pressure to do so - despite having written to them this year saying an offer would not be made for now. Real have left the No 11 shirt vacant - and the Bale shirt has already apparently gone on sale in the club shop. Spurs, however, have driven a hard bargain in terms of the payment having flatly rejected Real's terms to cover the fee over the six-year duration of the contract. Instead Spurs have insisted that there are just three staged payments - and have also offered Real the carrot of receiving a significant discount on the total fee if they meet those payments early. Such an offer is not unusual and is a tactic that has been used before by Levy.
Conversely should Real be slow in paying up they will be hit by punitive clauses in the transfer which would lead to an increase in the overall fee. Spurs have also played hardball in securing bank guarantees from Real over the payment having earlier expressed concerns as to whether the Spanish giants could fund the deal. There will be relief at Spurs that the deal is going through in advance of the Sept 2 deadline when the transfer window closes. It had been expected that Spurs would delay releasing Bale until they had secured replacements but there was always a will not to let this one go down to the wire. Having missed out on Willian, after the Brazilian attacking midfielder opted to move to Chelsea for pounds 30?million - with Chelsea also have reached an agreement in principle to also take striker Samuel Eto'o from the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala - Spurs are hopeful that they will sign Argentinian international winger Erik Lamela from Roma for around 26 million pounds.
It is hoped that Spurs will add another forward player, with Zenit St Petersburg's Hulk a possibility if a fee closer to 30 million pounds can be agreed - although that remains a problem - and have also reached agreement to acquire the 23-year-old Romanian international central defender Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest for around 8 million pounds.
Spurs were determined that they would not allow the Bale transfer to go to deadline day. The Wales international is believed to often stay in Malaga when he is allowed time off but his flight on Saturday followed the agreement being reached. At one time Levy had been determined to hold on to Bale this summer and had told Spurs' head coach Andre Villas-Boas that he would not be sold. However that was in anticipation of a Real offer of around 60 million pounds.
Having offered a world-record fee, and with the significant game-changer that Bale himself pleaded for a move and indicated he was determined to leave, it then became an issue of agreeing the details.
Having initially negotiated solely on a cash price Spurs decided that they want to explore the possibility of taking players from Real. The club reasoned that a pile of money in the bank was no good to them if they were going to weaken their squad. However these talks broke down after Real's valuation on their players - also including winger Angel di Maria - was deemed too high. Spurs then set about ensuring their secured players they wanted such as Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and, hopefully, Lamela, Chiriches and one other - to add to Paulinho. Spurs and furious that they missed out on Willian with the Brazilian having already undergone a medical after the club believed they had agreed terms.