Madrid based newspaper Marca are reporting that Gareth Bale has asked to leave Spurs, but is there any truth in the story or are Real Madrid 'tapping up' the player?
Tapping up is defined as when one team tries to get a player from another team without permission of the player's current club. This is usually done through the player's agent. It is illegal in many leagues around the world.
Bale has been subject of transfer speculation all summer. He has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Most recently Madrid based paper Marca reported that Bale had agreed to sign a six year contract with Real Madrid. This has so far proven without foundation and the winger remains with the Spurs squad.
Earlier this summer Zinedine Zidane, who is the sporting director at Real Madrid, expressed his admiration for Bale. He then subsequently went on to say that Bale should hand in a transfer request and force a move to Madrid.
Even Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett was on Spanish television and declared that Bale would listen to Madrid if they agreed a deal with Spurs. It is possible that Madrid have already made contact to Bale's agent and talked about a move behind the player's back.
Ironically Bale's agent was involved in a tapping up scandal in 2005. Barnett was part of an infamous meeting between Ashley Cole, who was his client at the time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon. Cole was found guilty and fined.
Chelsea were also found guilty of 'tapping up' Gael Kakuta in 2007. Kakuta ended his contract with Lens and Chelsea did not do the transfer through the French club. The London club were then banned from signing players for two transfer windows.
Real Madrid have a partnership with Spurs but bridges are being burnt. Madrid are clearly using the media, mainly their local newspaper, as a tool to unsettle Bale and have even got his agent involved.
Real Madrid could be guilty of 'tapping up' Bale and if they are, they must be punished and suspended from buying players for two transfer windows just like Chelsea were.
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