Gareth Bale’s Madrid move no problem, says Hartson

Tottenham are reported to be holding out for a world record fee of �126m for Gareth Bale. Picture: Getty
Tottenham are reported to be holding out for a world record fee of �126m for Gareth Bale. Picture: Getty
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Wales coach John Hartson believes Gareth Bale would be able to cope with the burden of expectation if he were to join Real Madrid.

The Tottenham winger, who was named Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers’ Association and the Football Writers’ Association last season, is reportedly keen to speak to Real over a move to the Bernabeu.

Spurs have insisted Bale, who signed a new four-year contract at White Hart Lane in June 2012, is not for sale, and have said talks over a new deal are ongoing.

However, a report in Tuesday’s edition of Spanish newspaper Marca claimed Tottenham are holding out for a world record fee of £126 million for the 24-year-old Welshman.

Having worked with Bale at international level, fomrer Celtic and Wales striker Hartson has no doubt he could cope with a switch to the nine-time European champions.

“It wouldn’t be an issue for Gareth. He’s very level headed, his feet are firmly on the ground,” Hartson told BBC Wales.

“I get to see him close up, obviously, working with him with the Welsh national team.

“He comes along to the squad and he works like all the other players. He gets his head down.

“He’s got a great family. He doesn’t come with a big entourage. He’s got his agent, he’s got his advisers and he’s a really down-to-earth, level-headed lad and I think whatever Gareth does I’m sure he would have thought long and hard about it.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Spanish Football League (LFP) has dismissed suggestions that Real’s pursuit of Bale is immoral.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are believed to be tabling a bid in the region of e100m (£86.5m) in order to tempt Tottenham into selling the Welsh forward, which would smash the current record of e96m (£83.3m), which Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago.

The bid has attracted criticism in some circles in light of the economic crisis still ravaging Spain, but LFP president Javier Tebas insists he has no problem with Madrid getting out their chequebook to bring the PFA Player of the year to La Liga.

He told reporters: “It is immoral to pay for something when you cannot afford it. I think it’s more immoral for a club to spend one million euros which they do not have.

“100 million euros is a huge amount of money to spend on a player but if Madrid can afford that then it’s not a question of morality, but of whether it’s a risky move or not.”

Tebas declared that he looks favourably upon the move for Bale, as the Welshman’s arrival would boost the profile of Spanish football. “I don’t know much about him, but if Bale is a good player, than I’d rather he was over here [in La Liga] than in the Premier League,” he said.

“It’s not a question of how much he costs, you have to look at how much money he will generate, and if the LFP has all the stars, it will allow us to maintain high television revenue. All the money the arrival of this type of player generates translates into more revenue.”

Tebas also responded to questions from journalists yesterday about the increasing number of high-profile players from outside of the top two clubs in Spain who have left La Liga this summer, such as Radamel Falcao, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Iago Aspas, with Roberto Soldado set to follow the trend, by leaving Valencia for Tottenham. “Seeing players leave is a double-edged sword,” he said.

“Clubs need to decrease their debts, and it’s a shame that players have to leave, but it is good news because this is the path we have chosen.

“Spanish football clubs pay 120 million euros in interest each season, and just think about the players we could have had with that money and how much we could have paid them.

“If we can reduce our debts, in four or five seasons’ time we will have more money to invest in our football.

“We are on the right track, and the clubs know that.”