There had been much hype and headlines this summer over Gareth Bale’s protracted move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. Not many doubted that the deal would actually take place, but the announcement of Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid went tantalisingly down to the last day.
The big surprise and story for the UK media on deadline day, however, was the late news that Mesut Özil would be moving in the opposite direction to Spurs great rivals Arsenal, for a club record fee of £42.4 million (interestingly, it is also the highest fee Madrid have ever received for a player).
Florentino Pérez unveiled his new World Record signing in front of 20,000 fans at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu with the look of a child who got the exact toy they had always wanted on Christmas morning. The President wanted to be in every shot and very rarely wanted Bale to leave his side.
The club had earlier joined the chase for the Brazilian Neymar, but the player himself opted to turn down the more lucrative deal in Madrid for what he described as his dream of being able to appear in a Barcelona side containing the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and his idol Messi.
Florentino Pérez, not one to take refusal well, then went after Edinson Cavani from Napoli. However, he was also frustrated in that attempt as the Uruguayan chose to head for Paris and a new challenge at Paris Saint-Germain.
Gareth Bale had long been an obsession of the Madrid President, but the fee quoted by Daniel Levy appeared to be prohibitive, Pérez himself admitting in a radio interview that he thought a fee of €100 million to be excessive.
However, due to the earlier failures to capture a big name “galactico” signing, Pérez pressed forward in his attempt to prise the Tottenham Hotspur prime asset from their hands.
In the end, Madrid had to meet Daniel Levy’s valuation and coughed up a World Record £85.3 million, or €100,737,646.43 to be precise at the time of writing.
So in the end, Madrid got their man, even if many will question whether he is worth that astronomical fee, and Daniel Levy could balance his books after Tottenham’s spending spree over the previous summer months. It would appear that everyone was happy? Everyone apart from the Madrid fans, that is.
At Gareth Bale’s presentation, news had started to leak that Mesut Özil was having a medical in Munich (where he had joined up with the German national squad) ahead of a proposed €50 million move away from the Bernabéu to London and Arsenal.
Whilst the President was attempting to officially announce the Bale signing, a group of fans began to chant “Özil no se vende”, Özil is not for sale. The President tried to quieten and calm them down, but the chants continued, followed by similar cries in support of the deposed number one, Iker Casillas.
It would appear that the fans protests fell on deaf ears as close to the bells of Big Ben symbolising the close of the transfer window, Arsenal and an extremely Cheshire cat like Arsene Wenger announced the capture of Özil for that record fee of £42.4 million.
How will each player fit into their new surroundings and culture and will either, or both, be a success? Only time will tell, but in the current economic climate, both have a lot to live up to.
Here at La Liga Blog we wish them both much success in the future.