Did you know there are only 34 shopping days left until the transfer window closes?
Florentino Pérez does. The man I sometimes refer to as "Uncle Florentino" - or Uncle Flo when I really want something badly from him (like a striker, for example) - has spent this transfer season with his midfield player catalogue in hand. He's found just what he wants for Christmas - I'm sorry, I meant transfer deadline-day - and it's a strapping Welsh midfielder. He's feeling flush. He feels he's been good. He feels he deserves to have Gareth Bale.
Links To Today's Gareth Bale Reading...
England's least hysterical newspaper, The Independent, believes any bid over 80 million quid will suit Tottenham. But this would mean that Marca have been lying to us - and how likely is that?
Over at Marca a bid of 145 million Euros remains stubbornly on the front page as of press time. That would suggest that Bale is worth three of Fernando Torres. Insert cruel and obvious joke here at the expense of that former Atlético Madrid player.
Moving along to the newspaper As, Sergio Ramos has stunned the sporting world - not by announcing that he's not in charge of transfers (which he did) or by giving his thoughts on Ancelotti (which he also did) - but with the lead picture to the article. He's shaved the hair on his face, which makes the hair on the top of his head look marginally more acceptable. But really, not.
And finally The Guardian has an interesting piece on Bale returning to work with Tottenham. It posits that his reluctance to play in the preseason was a fear of aggravating an existing injury which might jeopardize a potential move.
...And Some Psychological Ruminations...
Since the writers in this blog have been providing their own perspectives on the Gareth Bale transfer over the past week I'll just subject all of you to mine: there are deep psychological forces at work here in my opinion.
Basically - beneath his serious, quiet exterior - Florentino Pérez is an addict. He's a football romantic in need of an expensive, attacking-midfielder fix.
To be clear: I believe José Mourinho would have liked the Gareth Bale transfer for much the same reasons I liked it a few weeks ago before we signed Isco and Asier Illaramendi, brought back Dani Carvajal and our Canteranos dazzled in the U-21. I liked it before I saw Carlo Ancelotti's still growing, but increasingly sturdy Christmas tree. He would have suited the set-up of our team under Mourinho. And at 50 million, it was reasonable enough.
That's Florentino Pérez's tragedy however. Because in all the time that José Mourinho was at Real Madrid, and Gareth Bale was precisely the sort of signing that would have suited the team, no proper Galácticos were signed. Overpriced players do not count, of course. None appear to have been wanted, and José Mourinho had an influence over transfers that no other coach has ever had and that, for the moment, Carlo Ancelotti does not appear to share.
And now think of Pérez and his Galácticos. Think of the famous photograph of him sandwiched between his 4 great signings - a picture he is rumoured to have blown up to poster-size and put in his house. Think of the delight and happiness he must have felt every time he was able to present one of his Galácticos to a cheering crowd of tens of thousands in our hallowed stadium, with the 9 replica European cups gleaming in the sunlight of the Bernabéu and the new signing exhorting the crowd to a rousing ¡Hala Madrid! while club legend Alfredo di Stéfano was wheeled out for obligatory handshakes. Think of the joy of making glamorous, attacking signings the way a six year old chooses his fantasy team. Imagine the thrill of pouring over shirt-sale figures, dreaming up endorsement ideas, and generally enhancing the brand of his beloved club.
Think, most especially, of the 2009 Galáctico over-dose. Strictly speaking, we are still enduring the hang-over.
And having to quit cold-turkey for four hard seasons must have been terrible. A long, dark, tea-time of the soul (with apologies to Douglas Adams) for Florentino Pérez. He's been clean for something over 1,200 days - but signs suggest he's not going to be able to resist much longer.
Florentino Pérez also collects rare and abstract art-work when not collecting footballers. I'm at a loss for how to precisely express why this is relevant for a complete psychological profile of our club President, but I just feel it is.