Gareth Bale's representatives hope to meet Daniel Levy this week to impress on the Tottenham Hotspur chairman their client's desire to move to Real Madrid this summer, with the standoff between player and club threatening to turn acrimonious.
The Wales international and his team-mates returned from the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong in the small hours of Monday morning, with the manager, André Villas-Boas, having granted his squad two days off before they reconvene for Saturday's friendly in Monaco. Bale has been suffering from a minor glute muscle complaint, an injury that prevented him featuring in south-east Asia but, while the manager had envisaged the player resuming training this week, the 24-year-old does not anticipate participating at the weekend.
He and his advisers are aware of Madrid's determination to secure him before Carlo Ancelotti's first campaign in charge and have been left exasperated by Levy's reluctance to consider an offer that would be worth a world record €100m (£86.3m), which the player believes is still on the table. The chairman, who had held informal talks with Bale during a brief trip to Hong Kong last week, is understood to have flown back to London from Florida, where he owns a property, and intends to reiterate to the player that he will not be sold. Spurs have indicated they are absolutely resolute and have previous form in this area, having delayed the departures of Luka Modric and Dimitar Berbatov in the past.
That would suggest an impasse and it remains to be seen whether Bale, who has enjoyed a fine relationship with the Tottenham hierarchy since moving from Southampton in 2007, will be willing to force the issue by submitting a formal transfer request. Where such a statement had appeared unthinkable only a few weeks ago, it now looks a far more realistic proposition. Certainly Spurs' aspirations to secure the player on new and improved terms worth up to £150,000 a week appear dashed, though they do have the forward contracted for three more years.
Madrid remain just as confident that they will secure their principal transfer target before the window closes at the beginning of September and reports in Spain suggest the president, Florentino Pérez, intends to leave a tournament in the United States to meet Levy in Miami early next month. Madrid's bid is understood to be a cash offer but there could yet be scope to include players – the Argentina winger Angel Di María and the Portugal full-back Fábio Coentrão have been mooted – in part-exchange for Bale, a proposition they hope might yet persuade Spurs into parting with their prized asset. It should be noted that such exchange deals are notoriously difficult to complete given the number of interested parties on which they hinge.
Amid the furore surrounding Bale's future Spurs are at least making steady progress in pursuit of the Spain forward Roberto Soldado, whose signing from Valencia for £25.8m would constitute a club record. The striker, who had initially been targeted last summer only to indicate a desire to remain at the Mestalla, has been convinced to move to White Hart Lane, though haggling continues between the clubs over the payment of the fee. Spurs are looking to pay in instalments while Valencia, who are to sign the former Tottenham forward Helder Postiga from Real Zaragoza as a replacement, are seeking the vast majority in cash up front.
Spurs have agreed to meet the release clause in Soldado's contract after Liverpool declared an interest in the player, with Tottenham's recently appointed sporting director, Franco Baldini, having spent time in Valencia negotiating a deal for the 28-year-old. The Spaniard, who has scored 81 goals in 141 appearances for the Primera Liga club, would follow Paulinho, a £17m arrival from Corinthians, and Twente's Nacer Chadli in joining Villas-Boas's squad this summer.
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