Bale's a Blanco, so Özil's a Gunner
Every kid's dream is to play for his favorite team. Gareth Bale was no different.
Growing up in the Welsh capital of Cardiff, he proudly sported his allegiance to Real Madrid even then.
And now, Real Madrid is proudly sporting Gareth Bale as its latest crazy-money signing from Tottenham Hotspur.
For some reason, the Spanish giant is trying to downplay the eye-popping transfer amount of €100,000,000 by a few million -- as if that makes a difference the Catalan economy, a region that itself is angling for free agency -- but if Spurs chairman David Levy says that's the deal, then that's the deal. Tottenham is posted on the London Stock Exchange, where the bulk of its shares are preciously held by supporters instead of traded by investors, so all major financial dealings must be publicly reported.
The magnitude of the transfer fee is as much a story as the transfer itself. Real Madrid's beancounters clearly estimate by the jarful, as Los Blancos were only bidding against themselves while Spurs appeared to simply watch the transfer window gradually close and wait for the exasperated Carlo Ancelotti and his hand-wringing chairman, Florentino Pérez, to make that one last call.
After all, Spurs were so certain of the financial windfall, they had already spent a wad of it on new signings Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli, who were in their starting squad last weekend, with Erik Lamela on the bench. Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches weren't registered in time, but their inclusion is in the works.
So, while Bale delighed the throng of Real supporters who turned out to meet him, Ancelotti and Pérez were busy recovering some of the transfer fee by offloading the playmaking German international, Mesut Özil, to Arsenal. That, in turn, sent Gunner fans into a delerium; a milder version than Real's, perhaps, but a delerium nonetheless.
It could be argued that when Arsenal broke their own bank to acquire Özil, they helped themselves much more than Real has with the Bale transfer. Arsène Wenger never had found a replacement for Cesc Fabergas, and now that he has, it's odds-on he'll be most appreciative of how the midfielder who led Los Blancos in assists for three seasons running will sharpen Arsenal's attack.
Yet to be seen is if Real can replace Özil's productivity by allowing Bale to roam side-to-side and utilizing Ángel di Maria's pace. It's obvious that Ancelotti thinks so.
What is certain is that Gareth Bale has realized a childhood dream. His next task is to live up to expectations of Galactico proportions.