Gareth Bale is probably one of the most prized young players in football at the moment, with a price tag to match.
At 24 years old, the winger born in Wales has become the centre of transfer speculation.
The Welsh wizard who started his career with Southampton, played his first professional game at the age of 16 years old, on the 17th April 2006. In December of the same year, Bale went on to win the BBC Wales Young Sports Personality of the Year award and in 2007 won the Football League Young Player of the Year award.
On 25 May 2007, Bale completed a £7m move from Southampton to Tottenham. The player started off as a left back, impressing managers with his pace down the wing. After a falling out of favour due to an in-form Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Bale was placed on the bench for a lengthy period of time.
After Assou-Ekotto was placed out of action due to injury, manager Harry Redknapp decided to give Bale a chance, an opportunity which the player grabbed with both hands. His performances helped Spurs achieve a Champions League qualifying place for the 2010/11 season.
Without doubt the match that saw Bale come to the fore, was the Champions League clash with European Champions Inter Milan in which he scored a remarkable hat-trick. The player received glowing reports from managers across the continent with Sir Alex Ferguson declaring Bale, "the one that got away" after missing out on the opportunity to sign the Welsh winger.
Now the Welsh Wizard has attracted the attention of the biggest team in world football, Real Madrid. Speculation over Bale's future was brought into question after Tottenham failed to secure a Champions League place last season. Madrid have been credited with an interest in the 24 year old winger and are willing to pay a fee within the region of that paid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 (then 24 years old as well) for around £80m. Tottenham however feel Bale is worth more and considering the debacle between the clubs last year over the transfer of Luka Modric, they feel they should receive even more money to compensate for it, the asking fee being a staggering £100m.
Reports from Madrid however claim that everything is not as it seems, with a reliable source claiming that the signing of Bale is merely a cover-up for the imminent departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United. The insider goes on to claim that the money received from the transfer of Ronaldo will go on to fund the signing of Bale.
What remains to be seen however is, will Bale indeed make the move to Madrid and if so will he flourish or will he be yet another star to get lost in the enormity of Madrid?
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