In the world of the transfer market, nothing is surprising and nothing is impossible, but even by those standards, the Gareth Bale saga has more twists than `The Mousetrap`!
First of all, we had the preliminary jousting between the clubs and a war of words erupted, with Spurs chairman, the indefatigable Daniel Levy, saying that Bale was not for sale at any price to any club. Needless to say, once the pound signs started spinning before his eyes and he realized that Real Madrid were daft enough to shell out around £100m ($155m) for a player with just one outstanding season under his belt, he started to mellow in his rhetoric.
As bystanders, we have watched the pantomime switch from one club to another with occasional shouts of “look behind you” as the protagonists vie for the higher ground in the media battle. This has been played out to a background of somewhat lesser transfer sorties for Luis Suarez at Liverpool and Wayne Rooney at Manchester United.
In a typically Spanish move, Madrid tried to up the ante by starting to sell merchandise with Bale`s name on it; needless to say Mr Levy was not amused. However, in a move straight out of a Hollywood horror movie, Madridistas decided to erect a presentation stage at the Bernebeu, surrounded by all the pomp and dignitaries associated with a Royal Wedding, in anticipation of the Gareth Bale unveiling ceremony!
That seems to have been the final straw for Levy, who, at a stroke, has cancelled the deal in a fit of pique. Moreover, in a rather dubious move, he has leaked out into the drooling media that there is another club interested in Bale. It does not take Sherlock Holmes to work out that it is Manchester United who are the interested parties, and the intrigue deepened when during the after-match interview at last night`s Man Utd v Chelsea game, David Moyes refused to answer direct questions about United`s bid for Bale, rather saying that "United are always interested in the best player".
Of course it may all be a play by Levy to get more money or a better deal for Tottenham from Real Madrid, however, there is already a body of opinion that is suggesting that the deal is unaffordable for Real Madrid; a view reinforced when you realize that they have not yet paid for Luca Modric, bought from Tottenham, a couple, of years ago!
Whether Manchester United will really fork out £100m for Bale is doubtful, but whatever happens, the world of football transfers will never be the same and it will surely force the ruling bodies into some more proactive enforcement of their Financial Fair Play Rules.
At a time when countries like Spain are almost bankrupt and being bailed out (excuse the pun!) by the EU, it is anathema that such huge sums should be spent by insolvent clubs on ever spiralling and unsustainable transfer fees for football players.