The break-out player of this year’s English Premier League was the Tottenham Hotspurs’ Welsh national Gareth Bale. While the team underperformed by only coming in 5th in the league, and missing the important Champions League, Bale racked up trophies for individual performance. Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid has swooped in with a nearly $100 million bid for the striker.
Bale is the best play who won’t be part of the Champions League next year. For those Americans not paying attention to the most exciting sport, the Champions League is a contest between the best European soccer clubs. Participation means tens of millions of dollars to clubs participating. Not participating is like a team automatically competing in the NIT tournament, instead of the NCAA. In terms of Bale, imagine if Michael Jordan weren’t able to compete for the NCAA title.
Soccer teams have contracts with their players. Each contract, however, has an implicit “buy-out” allowing other clubs to nab a player after paying a certain fee to the club. Each club can “sell” the player to another club.
Real Madrid, one of the European soccer power-teams, is reportedly planning a nearly $100 million bid for Bale. At 23, Bale is approaching the peak of his form on the pitch. Tottenham has missed the Champions League the last two years. It will be increasingly hard for the club to keep such a world-class player without world-class opportunities.