Should Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid go through this summer, the price is set to smash the world transfer record with a staggering fee of around €100 million. Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez is prepared to once again break the bank to make Bale a Madrista but many from the game question the logic of the inflated price tag.
Arsene Wenger suggests that it makes a joke of the financial fair play regulations. Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers wonders how Bale’s valuation can be put at 100% higher than want-away striker Luis Suarez and Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni says that media hype has inflated the fee. Liverpool’s Northern Irish manager’s motives for calling into question the figure must surely be a bid to raise the price for the inevitable sale of his Uruguayan striker. The €40 million and subsequent €40 million and 1 pound offers from Arsenal being far below the valuation Rodgers and the Anfield hierarchy place on Suarez.
The club from the Spanish capital have four times previously broken the world football transfer record when they signed Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2000, Madrid paid bitter rivals Barcelona £37 million for Luis Figo. The Portuguese midfielder’s return to Catalonia with his new club was greeted with a severed pig’s head thrown on to the pitch from the Blaugrana fans as he attempted to take a corner. A year later Real paid Juventus around £48 million for Zinedine Zidane as part of the Galacticos project during Florentino Pérez’s first tenure as Madrid President. The following year Brazilian Ronaldo signed and a year after that David Beckham left Manchester United for Santiago Bernabéu proving that Real Madrid have never shied away from spending vast sums of money on players, particularly during the Galacticos era.
Florentino Perez’s second spell as Real Madrid president began with the promise and subsequent capture of former World Player of the Year Ricardo Kaka from Northern Italy’s AC Milan for another record of £57 million.
The same summer Perez and Madrid again broke the transfer record; the club smashing its own figure by signing Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Gareth Bale, the former Southampton man who made his Saints debut aged 16, moved to White Hart Lane for an initial £7 million and made his Spurs debut against St Patrick’s Athletic. The Welsh wing-wizard’s demolition of Inter Milan in 2010 announced Bale onto the European stage and the Fantasy Football League must-have completed his most outstanding season last year with 9 assists and 21 goals doubling his previous year’s tally. Comparing the 24-year-old Bale’s fledgling career with the Real Madrid players who were signed for record-breaking sums puts the expected fee for the Spurs player into context .
Eight years before the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid splashed the cash for two time Serie A winner and European and World Champion Zinedine Zidane from Italian giants Juventus of Turin.
Kaka was a Champions League winner with AC Milan and also won the League title and Club World Cup with the Rossoneri when he signed for the club.
When Real Madrid paid United £80 million for Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Sporting Clube De Portugal player had spent six seasons with the Red Devils winning one Champions League medal, one Club World Cup, two FA Cup medals and the league title three times.
The previous highest transfer fee for a British footballer was paid by Liverpool to Newcastle United for Andy Carroll. The £30 million price tag weighed heavily on the 6 foot 3 inch striker and he never managed to settle in with the Anfield club. West Ham made his loan move permanent when they signed Carroll for £15 million this summer and it is widely believed that, free from the burden of the transfer fee Liverpool paid for him, the move to East London will see the best from Andy Carroll.
In a summer when the Russian-backed Monaco FC signed Colombian Radamel Falcao for a reputed £60 million and Paris Saint Germain continue to spend Qatari money in France’s Ligue 1, the question remains: is Gareth Bale worth the massive money Real Madrid are willing to pay the North London club for a player with bags of potential? Or should pedigree be the deciding factor? Or indeed is the £100 million price tag just a sign of the times in the modern day transfer market?