If you've missed the speculation linking Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and endless others with Real Madrid this season then you've surely been living under a rock.
Recently re-elected club president, Florentino Perez, outlined the two Premier League superstars as his main targets during his presidential campaign and continues to talk up the pair, yesterday morning claiming Bale would be an excellent 'investment' for the Spanish side.
It's not the first time that Real Madrid have flogged their transfer agendas in public and unless UEFA step in to combat the issue, it won't be the last.
Both Bale and Suarez performed outstandingly for their respective clubs last season, starring in a number of games and providing vital match winning moments.
However with both Tottenham and Liverpool failing to qualify for next seasons Champions League it was only ever going to be a matter of time before the vultures came circling. Real Madrid's presidential elections therefore couldn't have come at a worse time for both clubs.
A common, recurring theme of these presidential elections has been for candidates to discuss their transfer targets in an attempt to sway club members and fans to support.
Previously to the start of the millennium this had been less prominent but that all changed in 2000 with the clubs pursuit of Barcelona's Luis Figo. During Perez's first campaign for office, the signing of Figo was promised to fans despite a fee yet to have been agreed between the two rivals. Sure enough that proved instrumental in Perez claiming victory and just a week later Figo was confirmed a Madrid player.
This seemingly set the precedent for what was to come over the years leading up to now as candidates targeted more and more players for public tapping up and a change of baton from Perez to Roman Calderon made little difference.
Arjen Robben, then of Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas, at the time with Arsenal and Kaka of AC Milan were next up in the relentless pursuit of the worlds best players.
In a childlike manner the public bleating and pleading continued for weeks causing unrest amongst the respective clubs of whom these players plied their trade. So persistent were the comments towards this trio that Calderon had to fend off allegations of making illegal approaches.
That wasn't to stop them though as less than just 24 months on Cristiano Ronaldo's name began to be bandied about. Following a fine season for the Red Devils in 2007/08, Madrid were back to their old tricks beginning a saga that would lead to the eventual departure of the Portuguese forward as his position at the club became untenable.
Not known to hold back his true feelings, Ferguson blasted the actions of the Spanish club as 'immoral', but again Madrid got away Scot free.
The most recent saga involved the transfer that brought Luka Modric to the Bernabeu from, of all clubs, Spurs. With it common knowledge that Modric was ideally looking to play Champions League football back in 2012, Madrid began their campaign early to lure the Croatian to the club.
The president, manager and even players all formed as the offensive to drive the transfer through and get their man. For Spurs, the eventual settlement, compensation of £30 million and a partnership agreement.
That partnership agreement now seems rather weak it would seem following the Bale saga that has already camped itself amongst the British and Spanish media, making a mockery of any benefits that such an arrangement may offer Spurs. Within most cultures a partnership symbolises equality, trust and loyalty. This is clearly no longer applicable to the relationship between Tottenham and Madrid.
“Gareth Bale was born to play for Madrid" Perez claimed less than a week ago. In a more recent interview he also said "He's one of the big players out there in Europe and Real Madrid always likes big players". To be honest there's very little that Perez hasn't said about Bale.
The pursuit of Suarez would be treated with equal contempt. “Suarez is a great player and I’m sure every team in the world would like to have him, I like him" were the words uttered by Perez to a Spanish radio station.
Sure enough that comment appears to have completely derailed Suarez, who within 24 hours of the comment reaching British shores declared his desire to leave Liverpool, claiming "I don't have any offer yet, and I don't know when I will leave, but it is a good moment for a change of environment after all I have been through in England."
For all the abuse Suarez has received, the temptation of Madrid's dangling carrot proposition would be near impossible to shrug off and therefore they should take responsibility and answer to their poor conduct.
Beyond the obvious breach of laws regarding tapping up though lies another issue with these two prospective moves. Figures have been quoted at up to £85 million for Bale and £40 million for Suarez. Assuming Madrid hold on to Ronaldo for at least another year, these two acquisitions would absolutely blow Financial Fair Play out of the water.
When Platini's decided to introduce the system the objective was supposedly to even out the playing field, yet signs so far indicate that this is simply not working.
Some will point to Madrid's worldwide commercial success as a way of generating the revenue to make such transactions fair and applicable to Financial Fair Play, but that £125 million outlay does not even include the wages that players of this ilk would demand (at least £80 million based on average four year contract salaries of £100k per week). It simply is not viable.
However Liverpool and Tottenham will not be concerned by the financials of Real Madrid. Of course they will have an impact on both clubs but more prominent is the worry of the public head turner. For at Madrid this is now the way of life, just a microcosm of the culture to lie, manipulate and cheat to get those what is most highly prized and desired. It's a game to them and one that they will continue to win until UEFA see fit to open their eyes.
Sometimes a child needs to have their pocket money taken away when they misbehave. Don't be surprised though if once again the pushover parents let their favoured son get away with blue murder.
image: © Ian D