Real Madrid 'intent' on signing Gareth Bale, says Graham Hunter
Real will pay 93m euros for Gareth Bale to counter Neymar's Barca move, says Graham Hunter.
Last Updated: 30/07/13 1:02pm
The Welsh ace has flown back from Tottenham's pre-season trip to Hong Kong with the rest of the squad amid speculation he is nearing the exit door at White Hart Lane.
Reports have suggested Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has cut short a family holiday to meet the player while, on Friday, manager Andre Villas-Boas revealed contract talks with Bale were 'ongoing'.
However, Spain-based journalist Hunter says the La Liga giants are prepared to offer a huge sum to tempt the forward to Madrid.
"The briefing between Real and the Madrid media is that verbally - and I don't think there's a written offer - Spurs are aware that Real are willing to go to 93m euros for Gareth Bale.
"Real can't believe they'll have to go to the 100m euro mark to have a chance of signing this footballer but the briefing to the media is 'look how much we are willing to spend, more than we spent on [Zinedine] Zidane, [Cristiano] Ronaldo...'
"The general conviction is that [Real president] Florentino Perez - who has history of buying [Luis] Figo when Barcelona didn't want to sell, Zidane when Juventus didn't want to sell, Ronaldo from Inter Milan - is so intent on pulling this off it will still happen."
Bale scooped the PFA Player of the Year Award and numerous other plaudits for his superb 2012/13 campaign, in which he bagged 21 Premier League goals - but Hunter hinted Real haven't targeted the Wales international purely for his on-field attributes.
Instead, Hunter suggested the move could in fact be a response to Barcelona signing Brazil prodigy Neymar, who joined the Catalan outfit for 57m euros earlier this year.
"In football terms it's possible to argue Gareth Bale's brilliant skills and athleticism aren't necessarily the prime thing Real need right now," said Hunter. "It's not predominantly a football signing.
"Perez fears Barcelona are a big brand name, have the best player in the world in Lionel Messi, are very well equipped football-wise and have signed a phenomenon in Neymar.
"Those who watched him in the Confederations Cup and watched him at his most scintillating know there is a marketing phenomenon emerging there.
"Real do not want to be swamped on the football front, nor on the revenue generation front, nor on this thing called identity; they want to be the most loved club in the world and they do fear the Neymar effect. It is part of what's going on."