The Lead

Well, might as well write about this damn thing as right now it’s just a matter of waiting for the official breaking news alert (brought to you by theScore™!): the deal is done in principle. Tottenham have given in to Real Madrid’s insistence on breaking a world record transfer fee for a player they arguably don’t need at his peak (inflated value) for a mildly nauseating £87m, plus one of Madrid’s and Spain’s most promising strikers, Alvaro Morata.

This decision, taken with their imminent signing of Roberto Soldado from Valencia, at least gives Spurs as good a chance as any to move on up to the Champions League and recoup some of the risks of losing Bale I wrote about yesterday. Oh, and feel free to laugh at that headline.

What I find striking here is the utter lack of guile on the part of Real Madrid, a club that already crowded the top of the “record transfer fee” list before this all came to pass. It reminded me of final scene of the Simpsons episode in which Mr. Burns sells the power plant to German investors. That scene always bothered me because the otherwise cool as you like Germans, when faced with a depressed Burns eager to buy his plant back, slip up:

“Isn’t this a happy coincidence! You are desperate to buy, and we are desperate to sell…”

At which point Burns knows instantly he has the upper hand, and then writes a cheque for a pittance. Perhaps the earlier part of the deal in which RM offered a much more reasonable amount for Bale took place behind closed doors, or maybe Perez is selling a return to the Galacticos era as a way to cleanse the scent of Mourinho and so has lost his mind a bit. Or maybe the club fears Ronaldo will go before the end of August. Who knows? Perhaps Bale is as good if not better than Ronaldo? RM sure think so, and they telegraphed it into an extraordinarily inflated fee.


Meanwhile Steven Gerrard insists Luis Suarez is key to Liverpool’s 2013-14 season [the Guardian].

David de Gea is working his magic to get Cesc Fabregas to join Manchester United [Telegraph].

MLS to add four more teams by 2020 [ESPNFC].

Oh, and the MLS All-Stars 3-1 loss to Roma means nothing about the quality of the league, apparently [ESPNFC].

Pitch invader takes a penalty on behalf of Juventus against Everton, Howard saves [Dirty Tackle].