Tottenham Hotspur continue to be linked with a summer move for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale.
All the options have been discussed in various stories. It could be a free transfer. There could be a loan deal. Perhaps Christian Eriksen, the attacking midfielder targeted by Zinedine Zidane, could move the other way.
There is, it seems, a genuine will within the media or perhaps at Real for Spurs to re-sign a player that they turned into a superstar.
Bale moved to Spain in 2013 in a then-world record £85million deal. He signed a new contract in 2016, which contains a €1billion (£878m) buyout clause. That won’t be reached this summer but it doesn’t seem to matter, with the Spanish club seemingly desperate to rid themselves of the Wales international.
The problem, inevitably, lies in the finances. Bale earns £350,000-per-week at Real and, for a second, we have to put to bed the arguments about whether or not he’d actually be a good signing. He might be, he might not be, but let’s have a look at the financial side.
If Bale were to move without a transfer fee – potentially on loan – with Spurs matching his current wage demands, he would cost them £18.2m-per-year before any sort of bonus is considered.
It is unthinkable that Spurs would countenance such a payment to any player, such is the stringency of their wage bill.
Now, of course, there is the possibility that Real could help subsidise those wages but surely they would want at least a portion of them paid by the loaning club. If they took on half of his wages and Spurs the other half, they would each pay him £175,000. That is less than what is paid to Harry Kane, currently, per Spotrac, with the England international earning £200,000-per-week.
But it would still add £9.1m to the wage bill – a figure which exceeds the annual salaries of Davinson Sanchez, Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son.
If Spurs were willing to match Bale’s current demands, however, he would tower above the rest of the club’s top earners.
The shirt sales argument comes in here – it is very rare that fans purchasing those shirts has any bearing on the club making money back – but it is also prescient to ask whether or not Bale is actually worth this kind of outlay.
Son, the second-highest paid player at Spurs, earns £140,000-per-week and he plays on the left side of the attack, in what is essentially Bale’s favoured position.
Bale played 42 games this season in all competitions and Son played 47; the South Korea international scored 20 goals and laid on 10 assists, and could add to that tally in the Champions League final, while his counterpart netted 14 and provided six.
Why would Bale suddenly come in and earn more than Son when he is actually only receiving half his wages?
Not only is it an irrational prospect, it’s one which could genuinely unsettle what appears to be a thoroughly harmonious dressing room.
This is not something that can be considered. Could he potentially lower his demands? That is a possibility, yes, but not to the level Spurs need. Only Kane and Son earn over £100,000-per-week – or £5.2m-per-year – and several key players, the likes of Eriksen, Lucas Moura and record signing Davinson Sanchez, earn under £80,000 every seven days.
This is not at all a hard-luck story for those players but it bears considering when one considers the likelihood of a transfer. Bale would have to take a hit of roughly £12m-per-year, personally, to make such a switch.
The question here is simple: why would he do such a thing? The return to Spurs is a romantic notion, of course, but it simply doesn’t make any sense from either side.
A deal could cause Pochettino a major problem in his endeavour to incorporate Bale into the starting XI, and Alexis Sanchez’s time at Old Trafford serves as a pertinent reminder of how major disparities between wage and contribution can sour the dressing room atmosphere.
Considering the enormity of his current salary, financially and logically a Tottenham move doesn’t add up.