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Saturday 21 October 2017

Bale returns to London as Real deal nearly done

Roberto Soldado (L) of Spurs celebrates with teammates Andros Townsend (C) and Paulinho (R) after scoring against Swansea City. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Roberto Soldado (L) of Spurs celebrates with teammates Andros Townsend (C) and Paulinho (R) after scoring against Swansea City. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images

GARETH BALE returned to London this morning after spending the weekend in Spain attempting to finalise his dream move to Real Madrid.

Bale arrived in Spain on Saturday night but returned home this morning with his transfer still no nearer to completion, while Barcelona manager, Gerardo Martino, said that should the world record fee materialise it represents "a lack of respect to the world in general."

Speaking as Bale arrived in Marbella before his expected formal unveiling tomorrow, Martino said the deal, which will eclipse the £80m Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009, sits uneasily in the current economic climate, and does not fit well with the spirit of Uefa's new financial fair-play rules.

"Bale is a very good player," said the Argentinian, "but the numbers involved in this transfer show a lack of respect to the world in general."

Barcelona, led by Martino since he replaced Tito Vilanova this summer, themselves paid £51.3m for the Brazil forward Neymar during the transfer window. Real are understood to have made Tottenham two offers, one structured over three to four years, and the other an up-front, one-off payment. A player could also be included as a makeweight in the second deal. Real play Granada in La Liga on Monday night, with the exact timing of the unveiling ceremony, for which the club have constructed a special stage inside the Bernabéu stadium, now depending on Tottenham's final verdict.

Meanwhile, Roberto Soldado extended his hot scoring streak at the start of his Tottenham career, getting his fourth goal in three games yesterday to clinch a 1-0 victory over Swansea.

Just as in last weekend's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, Soldado, who arrived from Valencia for €30million, was on target from the penalty spot against Swansea.

Tottenham were also left smarting from Brazil midfielder Willian being announced as a Chelsea recruit, having been on the verge of signing for the north London side from Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala last week.

Spurs are also pursuing Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches before the transfer window closes on September 2, although Villas-Boas quipped: "Maybe somebody steals him as well."

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