Gareth Bale's transfer agreement/contract has been leaked. Cue mass hysteria for all of twenty minutes. Yes, it's the return of the Mac(hiavellian) Daniel Levy where we read way too much into contractual legalities and then fantasise about the impossible. Another day in the world of Tottenham Hotspur.
Real Madrid, an institution on par with the Vatican for never allowing anything to stick (the latter invest heavily in strong detergent) are going through a domestic wobble currently (transfer market ban that will probably get over-turned). Add to it their historical dances with debt (which always get paid off by the government) and some interesting clauses stipulating the possibility for Spurs to have first offer on a potential future transfer out of La Liga (to the Prem) - and we have...well...I still don't know. Much ado about nothing? I'm just well chuffed that I squeezed in four brackets in the above paragraph. Grammar Baller.
I guess this is interesting/exciting depending on where you wish to supplement your excitement; in the present day or in a future that would have to fight through every institutionalised barrier and obstacle to materialise.
Most supporters - at least the vocal ones that love to shout the loudest - didn't stop doing so during that fateful summer. The berating of the agent and the player for his pseudo-strike along with Levy and Florentino Pérez both orchestrating the record deal through the media. My favourite contradiction here was us not needing to sell the player, yet we did so with Levy playing both sides (aiming to retain him and aiming to get as much money for him, even allowing Manchester United to get involved to drive the price up).
At the time I remember the billboards and the advertising of Bale in a Spurs shirt and we all thought this was a commitment to us rather than it being the financial growth of a footballing monster. It was a natural evolution that simply added a few more pound notes onto his value. Our cage wasn't strong enough to contain him.
The moment a player wants to move because he knows he can, it becomes about protecting the club above everything else. Regardless of how it develops in soundbites and denials. Regardless of how many times you state 'we don't need to sell'. We don't need to but we have no choice.
The moment Madrid knocked, Bale wanted to bail. Boyhood dream club. Untold riches. Strip away our personal desires as supporters to see a player remain loyal and become legend and you're left with a young man that sees his peers play at the very pinnacle. Why wouldn't he want that once in a life time chance?
So to drop back a couple of paragraphs, everyone's a scapegoat and everyone's at fault. 'Good riddance'. Off he went and now fast-forward to the present where apparently Daniel Levy has worked negotiating magic for the public domain to lust over. He's included some cheeky in-contract contingency insurance where by the Spanish giant could be forced to hand back Bale whilst we give them a little less than they paid for. This is all dependent on the bid we need to match and for that bid to be generously within our limit. Which judging by how nobody ever pays the full whack upfront to avoid FFP slaps, it could be possible. You follow? I'm just about staying awake.
For a start, try to wrap your head around the accountancy involved here. I don't do mathematics that well but everyone knows modern transfer deals involve staggered instalments for the most part. Everyone owing someone something as they take payments from elsewhere and move them around, even when upfront payments have been transferred at the point of the sale. I'm sure we're still paying a number of clubs for some of our surviving Magnificent Seven. Madrid, in this instance, didn't give us a lump sum at completion which means they end up paying us more over the agreed payment schedule.
It's the manner in which money is transcended from banks to excel sheets that drills holes in my head. Levy sold an asset to Madrid, who had no money to hand over, by loaning them the money to pay for the asset. Sort of. It's like buying a car on credit. Drive away with it and transfer the payments monthly till the full amount and interest has been paid, so the car retains it's value for the dealership meaning nothing is lost. You can take a lump sum and invest it, you can't do the same with monthly instalments hence why the price gets pushed up. In the case of Bale, we get four chunky payments.
Spurs winning here, at least in terms of value. At the time, it all got tied into the deals we made (bringing in players to replace Bale). This is the drill in head part. We get to spend money we don't technically have, in the true sense of cash in a shoe box, but we spend it because it's forthcoming and the banks nod approvingly because, well you know, they just make **** up as they go along. Money turns into flying IOU's, commitments to pay as everything gets spread like porn stars on set. In it all comes, out it all goes. The cream pie effect.
Didn't we owe money for Rafa van der Vaart for an absolute age? A player that cost only £8M. Something something transfers are amortised over the length of the agreed contract. Google it. I've copy and pasted.
But who actually gets f**ked?
Not us, we're owed money. Madrid? They've got the player so by my reckoning they're really the ones winning. Could they default on payments? There's probably more chance of the Pope admitting he's not Catholic.
Does it actually matter? Do any of the intricacies with how money is transferred and the tax paid and how our yearly financial statements look concern us this much? Hell no. It makes no difference. Are we this immersed in football that we need to dissect the inner workings? Actually don't answer that. Since Irving Scholar and then Alan Sugar and El Tel we've never got away from it. ENIC has become integral to day to day discussions as much as our reluctance to go back to 442. Shame on us.
The fact is we sold Bale. We signed players - be it with money we had or money we loaned or money that was due. The world spins around and Spurs will forever have a low net spend. The only significance of the whole buy-back thing is that now all the super rich clubs know that they could start a bidding war at a price they we're unlikely to be able to match. Add to it the fact that the player would still have to choose where he would go. Remember that Manchester United were linked to him for £100M. Joe Lewis gonna dip into his pocket for that? Maybe he can throw a few more hundred million at the stadium. I could also do with a Macbook Pro. Retina. I'm waiting for you Joe.
I always said Bale was world class (whatever that means). I'd have him back in a heartbeat (now, rather than when he's 29 years old). But just for a moment, imagine this happened sooner rather than when the 2019 transfer offer match clause expires. Real ****king Madrid on their knees, handing back one of their major marketing commodities because they're financially crippled. This is a club that perceives itself the biggest on the planet and the way they bully and cheat you can't dispute the fact they believe it. No grace but plenty of dynamite. They are all about fronting, all about face. They signed Bale because they didn't sign Neymar and the spotlight is a God given right they claim as their own. Such is their ego. Yet...you could still see it happening (theoretically) simply because of the amount of spin they'd throw at it to deflect the humiliation.
Bale left because of the football but also because he knew that financially (for branding reasons) there was no way he could make the money and get the exposure he desired by staying at Spurs. Ignore some of the BS you might have read about his transfer and how he along with his agent handled it. Love wasn't lost where it mattered most - between club and player. Bale is a career focused individual that can milk the game for untold millions by playing for the right team in the right competitions to match his profile. It's not great for us common folk but that's the way of the world at the top of it.
I would go full inception and faint within a faint if the spectacular actually played out. As for him returning in his twilight years when he's completed his adventure, I don't think this is impossible. He loved it at Spurs. But it's 2016 and the new stadium is a few years off and we haven't got a sodding clue what's going to happen this season let alone in 4/5 years time.
By the sounds of it Mauricio Pochettino is hinting at the prospect of no new striker this month as the club are not willing to risk mistakes like the past. Cue: blah blah blah 'need to make sure it's the right player'. Which is music to my ears in many ways but I can already hear accusations that it's just a competent reading from the hymn sheet Levy has handed to our Argentine coach. And we could really do with a striker (isn't the right player just someone who can score goals*?)
*Yes. But probably has to match the talent we have at the club already in ability and application and age. So the right player isn't a fallacy to disguise apology.
He cities our neighbours in his recent quotes and how they spent very little because of the move from one swamp to another. Maybe rather than Poch being a 'yes man' he's been told upfront he has time on his hands and the board will not pressure and knee-jerk like we've done so many times in the past. He's getting on with the job with none of the seasoned desperation that former deadlines have given us. That sense of finality, having to sprint and then run through the wall to get past the finishing line has been removed. Be it because of circumstance and the need for bricks at ground zero of Northumberland Park Development.
We've discussed this aplenty, that Poch and his coaches (and Paul Mitchell) are almost akin to a damage limitation team to manage us through tricky times where Levy spends even less money than usual. It might be perfect for the chairman but it might also be the best possible working environment for Pochettino. Hence the amount of article and interview columns the academy and our new breed of transfer acquisition policy has been grabbing recently. Some will say this is textbook Tottenham propaganda but I guess for once, money talks and it's whispering sweet nothings until the next chapter in N17 is completed from the Lane to Naming Rights Stadium.