- La Liga
Bale deal 'close to collapse' claims agent
Gareth Bale's agent has claimed his client's €100 million summer move to Real Madrid almost fell through, and the wait to finalise the deal had been like torture for the former Tottenham man.
Bale was first linked by Jonathan Barnett with Madrid in late May, but only sealed his world record transfer to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu just as the transfer window shut in early September.
The representative told Spanish TV station La Sexta that the negotiations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy had been tough and went right down to the line.
"It never broke down, but that was close to happening a few times," Barnett said. "We had a plan for the move. I hope that I am still friends with Daniel Levy, but I am not sure. He is a hard negotiator, but fair. Tottenham made us a big offer for Bale to stay. The meetings were not always peace and love. We had meetings which were hard."
Bale spent a weekend at a Costa del Sol villa in late August while the other parties involved worked out the final deal. The uncertainty had been difficult for the Wales international to take, Barnett claimed.
"Bale needed to have a few days off and Tottenham gave him permission to go to Marbella," he said. "Gareth is very strong, but it must have been torture for him. Every day we spoke about five times. He wanted to know every day what had happened, and sometimes nothing had happened. So his emotions went up and down, but sometimes I had to tell him just nothing had changed."
Barnett repeated claims made by Blancos president Florentino Perez and coach Carlo Ancelotti that another club - said by Perez to be Manchester United - had offered Spurs more money for Bale than Madrid finally paid.
"The Spanish media did not understand why the transfer was not finalised with so much money, but if Tottenham needed the money it would have been done on the first day," he said. "There was a club who offered more money than Real Madrid. A lot more."
Meanwhile, Bale is reportedly renting a €7m house recently vacated by former Madrid playmaker Kaka. The property is located in the private development outside the Spanish capital where Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos all currently live. Bale will miss Wednesday's La Liga game at Elche with a slight left-thigh problem, but coach Carlo Ancelotti expects the new man to be ready for Saturday's derby against Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu.
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