Good news; the most tedious transfer saga of the summer looks like it is drawing to a close.
I am of course talking about the Tottenham Hotspur attacker Gareth Bale's proposed transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The 'Bale to Real' line has been trotted out at least once a day in some form or another for the entire summer, and with Sky Sports News covering it in minute by minute detail over the last couple of days, football fans all over the world have understandably grown tired of it.
On to the good news then.
It seems that the transfer of the Welshman to the Santiago Bernabeu is now imminent, and even if it doesn't happen in the next day or so, the saga must be concluded by September 2 when the transfer window slams shut. It now seems highly likely that Bale will indeed be allowed to leave, and when he does it will be for a truly astronomical sum of money. So with the transfer all but completed, the question must now be asked: What next for Bale?
Of course, in the short term, we know what is next for Bale. He'll be flown over to Madrid and unveiled in a ridiculously over the top ceremony, and news companies all over the world will be giving us every possible glimpse into Bale's Spanish lifestyle: from what house he is living in to what make of sun tan lotion his girlfriend rubs into his back.
But what about the long term? What about on the pitch?
One curious question about this deal has existed throughout Real's highly public courting of the 24-year-old. Why do Real Madrid want this player so badly?
He's a good player, of that there is no doubt. In fact, let's push the boat out, he's a great player. Nevertheless, students of the game all over the world have been somewhat perplexed by Madrid's dogged pursuit of the Tottenham number 11 because, quite simply, Madrid don't really need him.
At Tottenham, Bale was a hero. Time after time it was Bale who popped up with a spectacular finish, and it was of course his significant goal tally that helped Spurs to their highest ever points total last season.The value of Bale to Spurs cannot be understated. However, what Real don't seem to realise is that the value of Bale to Spurs is always going to be higher than the value of Bale to them.
While Bale was Tottenham's sole match winner, Real have several.
Mezut Ozil, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Angel di Maria are just a few names in Real Madrid's star-studded squad, and let's be honest, most of these players are on a similar level to Bale, and in the case of Ronaldo, actually a few levels higher.
Don't get me wrong, Bale is a quality player, and he has the ability to get even better. However, I just get the impression that his ability has been over-hyped. Yes, he can get forward, run very fast and has a thunderous left boot. But - whisper it - that's about it. Bale does not (yet) possess the ability to bamboozle opponents with his fast feet like Lionel Messi, or split defences with perfectly weighted passes like Xavi. He is a talented, but raw footballer, who had an annus mirabilis- wonderful year- last season.
And where will the Welshman play assuming the transfer does go through?
He favours a spot behind the frontman; a position already occupied by Cristiano Ronaldo, and although he can play on the left, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas found 'the hole' to be a far more effective position for Bale to work his magic. Hands up if you think Ronaldo will be content to let Bale take his spot? If your hand is in the air, give yourself a slap.
Ultimately we all know why Real Madrid want to buy Gareth Bale. Shown up season after season by Barcelona, Madrid want to show that they can still mix it with the big boys.
Barca secured the services of Neymar, and Real want to follow suit by spending big too. But at £90 million+, Bale to Real may be one of the most ludicrous transfers ever. Only time will tell.
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