The Soccer Desk

A Tale of Two Transfer Goliaths

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The two biggest Premier League stars currently thrashing about the transfer rumor mill are Gareth Bale and Luis Saurez.  The two coveted goal-scorers will boost the prospects of any team in which they land and have yearning fans, coaches and football reporters drooling at the mouth.  It’s been a zany silly season for both Goliaths, however, the silliness differs between Bale and Saurez, reflecting the sort of players and people they are.

Last week, the Spanish paper Marca claimed that Real Madrid had the deal sealed, the contracts signed and even published the financial details:  £85 million to Tottenham and €10 million per season to Bale.  Tottenham denied the deal and Real remained silent, letting the Spanish newspapers do their talking for them.

The Spanish paper has upped the ante, claiming Bale is begging the Spurs to release him.  To his credit, Bale has remained focused on being a Hotspur, at least while he remains one.  Earlier this summer Bale told the press, “I think that everyone at the club wants us to finish in the top four, the club wants to be in the top four and we need to go one better this season and finish in the top four.”  Moreover, Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas told the press that the club is in contact with Bale’s agent to extend his contract.  “Talks are ongoing, but that doesn’t mean there is an agreement,” Villas-Boas said. “At the moment we are confident. The player is under contract, a good contract at Tottenham.”

White Hart Lane has upped the ante from their side by adorning their star with a £100 million price tag.  If a deal is to be made it will be the largest deal ever.  The Guardian and other English papers are reporting Bale’s growing frustration with Tottenham’s inability to seal the deal sending him to the Champions League as well as La Liga, although he has refrained from speaking out publicly.  Both clubs have made one thing certain:  Gareth Bale is a wanted man.

Despite the huge amount of cash being discussed and the equally enormous impact of the looming deal or non-deal, Bale and Villas-Boas are keeping cool heads.  Things aren’t quite that cool in the Suarez camp.

It took a second offer of £40,000,001 from Arson Wegner and Arsenal to stir the craziness in the bid for Luis Saurez.  Liverpool boss Brenden Rodgers retorted by saying it would take about £15 million more for a player like Saurez.  At the same time Rodgers begrudgingly admitted that his star, though not for sale, would be for sale should the offer increase.  Liverpool owner John Henry retorted via twitter, “what do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”

Wegner is taking a lower profile, stating, “we still have a strong squad but we are there on the market to try to strengthen our team. With or without additions we can be title challengers next season.”

Rodgers is not only talking to the press, he is talking to his player, encouraging Suarez to remain loyal to his team and to Liverpool supporters.  Rodgers told the press, “the support he has received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivaled. In this period of time he’s missed a lot of games for the club through various reasons. The people have stood by him, like a son (like a son!) and really looked after him.  Whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be in his mind because it’s something you can never forget.”

Like a good son, Suarez gracefully acknowledged all that the city of Liverpool has done for him by demanding Liverpool resolve his transfer status in forty-eight hours.  (I’ll assume you did a double take and said, “what?!?!” so I’ll repeat myself) Suarez demands to have his future settled in forty-eight hours.  Combine that with his demand to be dealt and you have a situation in which the Liverpool faithful will either be Saurez-free come the start of the campaign or swallowing a nasty bit of pride.

It’s rare to see a player in the middle of a ten-match ban making demands and commanding such a huge price.  Liverpool’s best option may be to say good riddance now.  While they would rather such a talent go to another league rather than a rival team, Suarez may just be a bite away from a season-long, if not career-long, ban.  That’s a fifty million pound bite.

In this tale of two Goliaths, it’s Bale who has a good bit of David in him.

(photo courtesy of The Independent)