With superstar Cristiano Ronaldo linked to his former club, Manchester United, per Drayton, it’s speculated that Bale would help replace the legend in due time. The 23-year-old posted 21 goals and four assists in 34 games for Spurs in the 2012-13 Premier League campaign.
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On June 1, Jason Burt of The Telegraph reported that Madrid was trying to acquire Bale for £60 million. Tottenham reportedly guaranteed that it wouldn’t sell the youngster at any price.
However, if Drayton’s report is accurate, it’s going to be mighty difficult for Spurs to pass up such an offer. That is an incredible amount of money, and it’s highly unlikely that Tottenham thought it would ever receive such a deal when it declared it wouldn’t sell.
The reported move by Madrid also speaks to the pressure on club president Fiorentino Pérez, who is hoping to make a big signing as he seeks a replacement for manager Jose Mourinho with Ronaldo possibly on his way out.
Madrid is hoping to wrestle the La Liga title back from Barcelona. Barcelona won La Liga by 15 points this past season, matching Madrid’s record points total from 2011-12. Armed with Lionel Messi, Barcelona has been a tough customer in recent years, winning four of the past five La Liga championships.
Tottenham finished fifth in the Premier League this past season, one point outside of the Top Four. Arsenal made a strong push at the end to eclipse Spurs.
Sevilla said that they had accepted City’s offer and the next step was a medical for Navas. The length of his contract and his salary are not yet known but sources suggest that he will earn more than double the amount he earned in La Liga, where he was reportedly on £2.1m a year.
Navas will travel to the Confederations Cup with Spain later this month as a City player. Following Sevilla’s final game of the season on Saturday the club’s manager, Unai Emery, said: “All the signs are that Navas will leave. It is the best thing for him and for the club.”
Navas said: “I am open to anything and I want to win titles. City is a team I like a lot.” Now, the deal only awaits the final signatures.
The 27-year-old believes he is ready to move abroad having fully overcome the anxiety attacks that marked the early stages of his career. His initial introduction to the Spain squad was delayed because of the problems he encountered when leaving his native Seville, but with the club and the national team working with him he was a member of the side at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and at last summer’s European Championship in Ukraine. He has 23 caps.
Navas will bring City pace on the right wing, the ability to take on full-backs and deliver telling passes. He has provided 79 chances in the Spanish league this season, the fifth highest total in the country.
His signing is an intriguing one because Pellegrini has rarely played with out-and-out wingers, usually preferring his “wide” men to come inside. Navas could undergo the kind of evolution that Joaquín experienced under Pellegrini at Málaga. Joaquín was encouraged to move towards the middle and ended up playing behind the striker. Navas’s game has also been altered slightly in his final season at Sevilla, becoming involved in more central positions in the absence of a natural playmaker.
Pellegrini, who says he has a verbal agreement to join City, is to have a square named after him in Málaga following his successful three-year stint in the city. The coach remains popular with fans after taking the club to the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Portuguese coach will replace Rafael Benitez, who has joined Napoli following his six-month interim spell at Stamford Bridge, in the Blues hot-seat.
Mourinho is returning to west London for his second spell as Chelsea manager. Since he left the club less than six years ago, the Blues have been through eight managers when caretakers are included.
The 50-year-old was Roman Abramovich’s first managerial appointment after his 2003 takeover and his most successful to date. In three seasons at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho delivered two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups but did not win the Champions League.
He will hope to rectify that upon his return after the most difficult period of his career at Real Madrid.
Mourinho won the 2011-12 Liga title, ending Barcelona’s run of dominance in Spain, but could not progress beyond the semi-finals of the Champions League and conceded the Spanish championship back to Tito Vilanova’s team last season.
Abramovich has invested heavily at Chelsea in recent seasons as the team Mourinho helped to construct has aged, and the future looks bright for the two-time Champions League winner’s return.
Frank Lampard, John Terry and Petr Cech remain of the key cogs of Mourinho’s previous Blues team but the likes of Juan Mata, David Luiz and Eden Hazard lead this side now.
JOSE MOURINHO hopes his players can finish with a flourish on Friday and deliver the Spanish Cup in what is likely to be his final match as Real Madrid manager.
WITH a return to England looking likely, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho can go out a winner when his team plays crosstown rival Atletico Madrid on Friday in the Copa del Rey final.
Luckily for Mourinho and Madrid, Atletico has been incapable of winning a Spanish capital derby so far this millennium.
Atletico’s last victory over its city rival came 14 years ago, in 1999. Since then, Madrid has won 19 times with Atletico managing only six draws.
Madrid can also count on the goal-scoring prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will go head-to-head with Atletico striker Radamel Falcao.
Ronaldo headed home Madrid’s winner in the 2011 final against Barcelona. Falcao, meanwhile, has a knack of rising to the occasion, scoring to win two Europa League finals for Atletico last year and for FC Porto in 2011.
“It’s a trophy that we are very excited to win,” Ronaldo said of the Copa del Rey. “We know it will be a hard-fought match against a rival of the same city and it will be quite a show for the fans.
“I go into the match with a sense of great responsibility. I face all games the same way, but this is a final. It’s a special match, but my ambition is always the same, to help Real Madrid the best way I know how, by playing well, scoring goals, and setting up my teammates.”
Ronaldo’s buoyant mood contrasts completely with the stink Mourinho has made of things lately.
In his third season at Madrid, Mourinho has turned his ire away from opposing coaches and referees and onto his very own players. He started with benching Spain goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas, and most recently mocked one of his physical on-the-field enforcers in Pepe after he broke ranks and supported Casillas.
This belittling of his own players together with Madrid’s loss of the Spanish league title to Barcelona and its failure to win an elusive 10th European Cup would probably have been enough to get a coach of lesser standing fired.
But Mourinho has gone one step further and insisted that he is not “loved” in Spain like he is in the Premier League, saying he will discuss his future with Madrid president Florentino Perez when the season finishes in early June.
All combined, Mourinho should expect a noisy reception from the home fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where he has been jeered in recent matches.
Nevertheless, Mourinho could lift the Copa del Rey trophy as a consolation prize. If not, this season will be considered a complete flop for a club that boasts one of the most expensive squads in the world.
Atletico has a unique opportunity to wipe away years of misery by finally beating Madrid with a title at stake. To do so, the Atletico players will have to find a way to shake off the psychological advantage Madrid has over them.
In their most recent meeting on April 27, Madrid came from behind to win 2-1 even without Ronaldo’s help.
“Of course our fans don’t like the situation, but I don’t think it will influence the match,” Atletico forward Diego Costa said. “We know it’s a final and we have to be at our best to win. The key is to stick together as a great team and for each one of us to give it his all.”
Neither side will play in the league over the weekend after playing last week to make room for the final.
With Barcelona, Madrid and Atletico having locked up the top three spots, fourth place and the final Champions League berth is still up for grabs between Real Sociedad and Valencia.
Both are level on points before Valencia visits Getafe and Sociedad travels to Sevilla on Saturday.
Barcelona, which clinched the league title last weekend, can still match Madrid’s record point haul of 100 if its wins its remaining three games, beginning with Valladolid on Sunday. Barcelona will be without top scorer Lionel Messi after he re-injured his right hamstring.
Seven points separate the bottom six teams. Osasuna, Granada and Real Zaragoza are still in danger of going down, while Deportivo La Coruna, Celta and Mallorca are currently in the relegation zone.
Granada hosts Osasuna on Saturday with the winner going a long way to securing its place in the topflight. Deportivo hosts Espanyol on Sunday, while Zaragoza welcomes Athletic Bilbao.
Mallorca hosts Real Betis on Monday. Rayo Vallecano visits Levante on Sunday with both mid-table.
David Beckham has announced he will retire from football at the end of the season.
The former England captain, who turned 38 earlier this month, will quit at the top days after helping Paris St Germain to their first French championship in 19 years.
That made him the first Englishman to win titles in four different countries, and PSG were keen to hold on to the midfielder beyond the end of his short-term contract.
But Beckham has instead opted to follow his old mentor Sir Alex Ferguson into retirement, calling a halt to a senior career which began with a Manchester United debut in a League Cup tie at Brighton on September 23 1992.
His final appearance is likely to come for PSG away at Lorient on May 26.
“If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy.” David Beckham
He said: “I’m thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level.
“If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy. I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams.”
Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League with United, where he was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1997.
Glenn Hoddle gave him an England debut in September 1996, and he survived the fall-out from an infamous red card at the 1998 World Cup to become his country’s most-capped outfield player, 59 of 115 appearances coming as skipper.
Beckham left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in the summer of 2003 and won the Liga title in the last of his four seasons in Spain before signing for LA Galaxy, where he was twice an MLS Cup winner.
David Beckham retires
He spent two loan spells in Italy with Milan and made a final move to Paris in January this year.
Beckham joined Sky as an ambassador for sport earlier this year and has also spent time promoting football in China.
He said: “Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love, however I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead.
“I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.”
Beckham spoke to his former teammate Gary Neville – an interview you can watch on Sky Sports News from 5pm on Thursday – with Neville saying: “I think he just feels it’s the right time. It’s been a huge week in terms of retirements. Last week there was Ferguson and Paul Scholes – huge figures in English football over the last 20 years. And now we have another globally influential figure retiring. Beckham feels he’s taken football as far as he can.”
“He just feels as though he has taken his playing career as far as he can. He is finishing on a high in Paris but he just wants to go back home and feels this is the right time to do it.” Gary Neville on Beckham
McClaren dropped Beckham when he inherited the England job from Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2006 before giving him a recall and said: “He was a great player. He made the very most of his talents through sheer hard work and professionalism and always doing extra work on the training field.
“He inspired his team-mates through his performances.
“He was a winner, he’s won so many things in his career, and that was infectious on his team-mates.
“And he was an inspiring personality to young players with his behaviour and professionalism on and off the field.
“But ultimately he was a leader and people followed him.
“The young players followed him in how he played and in his personality, and even off the field the young players of today are following him through his fashion.”
Sky Sports’ Charlie Nicholas added: “I think he’s been an absolute superstar. Forget about the Beckham brand, he gave every ounce of blood and guts when he was on a football field. Yes, he wasn’t Lionel Messi or in the top 20 most skilful players in the world, but he brought honesty, commitment and style to every team he played for.
“He’s been a credit to the game. I would have liked him to have been more ruthless with his comments as he took a lot of stick during his career and was never critical, but he’s been a credit to himself and everything he’s represented in football.”
Now, Spurs would obviously like to hold on to their best player and, given that he is under contract for some time, hold most of the cards in this transfer saga.
Further, a quick look at how the club has dealt with transfers over the past few years (the negotiations with Real Madrid for Luka Modric spring to mind) reveals that it will not be shy in holding on to Bale through pressure from club and/or player.
Add on the fact that Bale has many good reasons to stay at White Hart Lane, and the likelihood of a summer transfer for Bale seems in doubt.
However, there is one factor that could override all of these other factors and lead to a transfer this summer: money.
While Tottenham are right to want to hold on to Gareth Bale, it would be silly for the club not to consider a transfer should a rich club offer an absurd amount of money.
As good as Bale is and as much as he has carried Spurs over the past few months, the opportunity to trade the Welshman for five or six very good players would be hard to pass up.
So just how much would be enough to force Spurs to consider selling?
Just a few weeks ago, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas made it clear that his club wouldn’t sell Bale even if Real Madrid were to make a bid of £60 million.
Such a fee would qualify as the second highest in history, just £20 million short of Cristiano Ronaldo‘s record £80 million sale to Real Madrid. That transfer, which happened in 2009, was for a 24-year-old Ronaldo who was coming off a Champions League title and runner-up medal in back-to-back seasons at Manchester United.
As for Bale, the 23-year-old has shown great potential, but has yet to really make a mark in terms of trophies.
Hence, for the sake of congruence, it would be difficult to reconcile a transfer fee higher than that of Ronaldo’s.
Thus, a good number would likely lie in the £65 to £70 million range.
The number is staggering enough that Tottenham would have to take notice. After all, given chairman Daniel Levy’s track record, that sum would be enough to be a whole new side of fine players.
Now, that’s not to say that that sort of bid would automatically win the transfer for a club.
However, £70 million is a fair price that would at least make Spurs consider selling their most prized asset.
Here’s to hoping that such a bid doesn’t come through for Gareth Bale this summer.
At what price would you consider selling Bale?
£30-45 million £45-60 million £60-70 million >£70 million No price, he must stay! Submit Vote in the comment below.