The spell has broken. Football has finally come to its senses. Yesterday Real Madrid president Florentino Perez suddenly stopped in his tracks, blinking and looking around. 'Where am I?' he asked, before it was explained to him that he is in his second term at Real, and currently pursuing the signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham for €100 million. 'That seems a lot', said the man responsible for breaking the transfer fee world record three times.
Unfortunately, it seems he didn't actually mean it in the sense that €100 million is an insane amount of money to spend on one footballer, but rather that €100 million is about the current limit to what is acceptable to pay for a football player, and that is what Real are willing to pay. Not the frankly ridiculous £100 million (€116 million) Daniel Levy wants.
In exciting player-plus-cash-deal-that-almost-never-actually-happen news, Tottenham want striker Alvaro Morata included in the deal. But the club's attempt to bamboozle Real by offering them a player-plus-player-deal has failed according to the Mail, as the Spanish side do not want Emmanuel Adebayor.
However, the Star says reports in Spain suggest that the Bale deal is already complete and the Welsh winger will sign on 31 August. Because that worked out well for the Sun when they predicted Cristiano Ronaldo would be unveiled by Manchester United on 8 August.
The Star also has two eyecatching "EXCLUSIVE" stories. The first reveals that, just when you thought this saga had ended, Manchester United are about to bid £40 million for Cesc Fabregas - despite the midfielder saying he's happy at Barcelona. The second story says Arsenal will stump up the £51 million for Luis Suarez. Both stories appear to be indisputable fact, with that ever-reliable source: "Starsport understands..."
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Elsewhere, the Express reports that Mark Hughes wants to bring former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf (remember him?) to Stoke from Hannover, though the German club's valuation of £7 million may be too high. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City are among the clubs interested in 17-year-old Santos wonderkid Victor Andrade, said to be the 'new Neymar'. It seems a bit early for that, though. Neymar's still only quite new himself.
Aston Villa will have to pay £10 million if they want to land Nuremberg midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, according to the Express. These days, however, that doesn't really 'seem a lot'.
(Photos via Zimbio)