Real Madrid will be able to add more weight to the transfer tug-of-war they currently find themselves in with canny negotiators Tottenham Hotspur over prized North London asset Gareth Bale, 24, as the sale of Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuian to Napoli will see Los Blancos grow an extra £31.8 million worth of financial muscle.
Having flourished under the tutelage of young boss Andre Villas-Boas last season, Bale picked up a hat-trick of individual awards by the year's end. His stature, balance, dribbling skills, finishing, crossing ability and counter-attacking nous lit up the Premier League, attracted the attention of Europe's heavyweight clubs and saw the British tabloid press guesstimate a figure of £60m-£80m should Spurs be tempted to cash in.
Thus far, Real have spent over £60m on Daniel Carvajal, Casemiro, Isco and Asier Illarremendi, so any bid for Bale would double their current expenditure for the summer. However, a desire to parade a Galactico in front of thousands at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has allegedly heightened following the summer policy of the club's La Liga and Champions League rivals Barcelona, who recently confirmed the capture of Brazil star Neymar for £49m.
Madrid have made no secret of their fondness to add Bale to a squad that already includes similarly-placed players on the pitch such as prolific goal-getter Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain's international team-mate Angel di Maria and burgeoning youngster Jese Rodriguez.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, though, would no doubt find room for Bale, a player who Real club president Florentino Perez even stated to Marca in May is 'born to play in Madrid'. Earlier this week, prior to the revelation that Higuain has completed a medical for Serie A side Napoli ahead of a big-money transfer, Marca also ran a story that Bale had agreed a six-year deal in principle and was eager to push for his White Hart Lane exit.
Tottenham, Villas-Boas and CEO Daniel Levy will dig their heels in and grip even harder on the rope that connects Welsh wing wizard Bale to Real, but if it's one thing we are reminded of every summer, it's that Madrid have mastered the dirty art of manipulating media, unsettling a player but, eventually, getting their man.
What is fortunate for Tottenham, though, is that in Bale they have a player still contracted for three years and in Levy, a man who has dealt with Real before, collecting £33m for graceful midfielder Luka Modric.
image: © Jan S0L0