Tottenham's Welsh wizard Gareth Bale may be staying at the club, as transfer negotiations with big-spending Real Madrid hit a difficult impasse.
Earlier in the summer, Spurs legend Ossie Ardiles was emphatic about the direction the current PFA Young Player of the Year & PFA Players' Player of the Year should take: “Certainly Gareth Bale’s future career development would be furthered [by staying at Tottenham]”.
Pulling no punches Ardiles, the diminutive ex-midfielder given the Spanish nickname Pitón – python - by his brother because of his snake-like dribbling skills added unequivocally: “I hope he stays”. Warming to his theme the 1978 World Cup Winner continued: “I would love to have Gareth Bale in my team. He is a fantastic player”.
Ex-left back Bale, who hit a career best 26 goals in 44 games last season, signalled his intent this time last year by changing his squad number from the traditional number 3 to 11, because, as he stated at the time, he did not wish to be considered as a left-back anymore.
Ardiles said: “He had a wonderful season last season but he’s still learning the game. If he goes [to another country] it will be more difficult for him”. Betraying his true feelings about the club he was contracted to for ten years, despite a difficult interlude at PSG during the Falklands War, Ardiles plaintively reiterated: “I hope he stays with us. The club love him, the fans love him as well, so why not [stay]?”
The “will he stay will he go” Gareth Bale saga is looking more and more likely that it will play out all summer long. We've already had weeks of ongoing negotiations between the notoriously rigid Daniel Levy and his big-spending counterpart in Madrid, Florentino Perez, over a world record fee.
Madrid’s pursuit of the Cardiff-born left footed attacker has reportedly begun to stall, however, with new coach Carlo Ancelotti claiming that signing Bale isn't central to his plans going into the new campaign. Madrid offered Angel Di Maria as well as Fabio Coentrao, the Portuguese ex-Benfica wingback in a player plus cash deal in a bid to persuade Daniel Levy to let Cardiff-born Bale leave N17.
As Sabotage’s interview with the Ardiles drew to a close, the dignified Argentine, who knows a thing or two about loyalty to the club from N17, steeped as he is in their history, both on and off the pitch, says to me simply and quietly before saying goodbye, as if trying to convince himself: “I hope Gareth stays”.