In August 2012, Tottenham Hotspur announced they had formed a “partnership” with Spanish giants Real Madrid. The announcement came almost immediately following the transfer of Croatian playmaker Luka Modric from Tottenham to Madrid. Modric joined Madrid for £33 million and signed a 5-year deal running up to 2017. According to Tottenham, the partnership would see the two clubs “working together in respect of players, coaching, best practices and commercial relationships”. At first, this sounded like something positive for Spurs because they would be getting help from one of the greatest clubs in the world. But ever since this so-called “partnership” was formed, Real Madrid have done absolutely nothing to help Tottenham.
The Tottenham – Real Madrid “Partnership”
Tottenham would have likely expected to receive a player on loan from Madrid for the 2012/13 season to help offset the loss of Modric. Even a Madrid bench player such as Kaka, who at 30 years old at the time could have been a key contributor. Perhaps a loan move for a youngster like Jese Rodriguez would have helped both clubs. A deal of any sort never materialized; it would be a whole year before Tottenham and Real Madrid did business with each other again.
The summer of 2013 landed a much bigger deal between the clubs. Gareth Bale had just come off a brilliant season for Tottenham, scoring 26 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions and named the Premier League Player of the Season. Real Madrid admitted interest in the Welsh wizard during the summer window, leaving Tottenham with a fight on their hands to keep their young superstar. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would only let him go if he got a large amount of money (ie. Cristiano Ronaldo range) from Real Madrid in return. After weeks of speculation among supporters and negotiation between the clubs, Bale was eventually sold to Real Madrid for a world-record fee of £85 million. This money would be used by the North London club to rebuild in different positions. Tottenham bought seven different players following the Bale transfer.
What really made some people irate is that shortly after the signing of Bale, Real Madrid announced that they agreed to sell German international Mesut Ozil to Arsenal. Arsenal bought Ozil for £42.5 million on deadline day and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that the Bale deal paved the way for Tottenham’s rivals to drastically improve their team by buying the German international. All of this meant that Tottenham would sell their best player in years to a partner club, only for that club to sell one of their best players to one of Tottenham’s rivals. Tottenham had nothing to gain from this and only helped improve Real Madrid and Arsenal. What made the deals worse is that Tottenham have been getting closer and closer to pipping Arsenal for Champions League football. But after losing Bale and seeing Arsenal acquire Ozil, the gap between the two clubs has widened once again.
Personally, I would have liked to see this “partnership” in action and the Bale deal resolved in a different way. I would have taken £30 million pounds plus Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao or Karim Benzema. This would have been a win-win situation for both parties. Madrid would have bought their main target for a relatively cheap price, while Tottenham would have strengthened their roster greatly with two players would instantly become starters. But as is the case in football, the deal that makes the most sense rarely occurs.
So do Tottenham really have a partnership with Real Madrid? I don’t think so, and if they do, Tottenham should end it as soon as possible as Los Blancos are the only team gaining from it. There haven’t even been any friendlies between the clubs or pre-season tours into the partner’s country. Also, there have been no meetings between Florentino Perez and Daniel Levy for any other reason than selling Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. The agreement only seems to have given Real Madrid an opportunity to grab Tottenham’s key players before anyone else does. If Real Madrid start to give something back, then a partnership sounds plausible. But if they are just sticking around to see who’s impressing at White Hart Lane, then Levy needs to reconsider his relations with the Spanish giants.
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