Belfast Telegraph

Hoddle unsure Real can afford Bale

Former Tottenham playmaker Glenn Hoddle has questioned whether Real Madrid can afford the vast transfer fee needed to sign Gareth Bale.

Madrid are expected to make an improved offer of £90million to lure Bale away from White Hart Lane as one of the summer's most protracted transfer sagas reaches a critical phase.

Spurs have invested heavily in strengthening their squad in expectation of the move with new arrivals Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and Paulinho set to be joined by Brazilian playmaker Willian.

Madrid still owe Tottenham a portion of the £33million fee they paid for Luka Modric last year and Hoddle wonders if they have the financial muscle to capture Bale.

"A big question is have Madrid got the money? Spurs don't have that big transfer fee at the moment," Hoddle said at the launch of Zapsportz.com.

"It's all well and good saying he's going for £90million, but it's pie in the sky at the moment because only they know if they have the money

"But whatever happens, at least Spurs have not left it too late to replace their top player. Willian is real quality, so they'll have made some good acquisitions."

Hoddle fears that if Bale leaves for the Spanish capital, the move may have come too soon in the 24-year-old Wales winger's career.

"I think it's a tad too early for him as a person. I went abroad and you have to be ready for what happens off the pitch as well as on it," said Hoddle, who spent three full seasons at Monaco as a player.

"How content you are in your personal life influences how you perform on the pitch, especially when you're abroad. I'd urge him to think long and hard about it. It's a good deal for Spurs and a good deal for Gareth, but he'll find it hard to adjust."

While Tottenham have embarked on an expensive recruitment drive, north London rivals Arsenal are approaching the end of the transfer window without having made a single signing of note.

Interest in Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez has failed to materialise into signings and Hoddle insists manager Arsene Wenger faces a challenging season if he fails to strengthen.

"It baffles me that they want quality players when there have been lots of quality players moving around that would have improved Arsenal, only to miss out," Hoddle said.

"So they have been chasing it a little bit. Maybe they put all their eggs in the Suarez basket, but I don't think Liverpool will sell him to Arsenal because they'll be competing with them for fourth place.

"There's a lot of work to be done between now and when the window shuts if Arsenal are to bring in the quality players that Arsene wants.

"If the squad stays as it is then he has a battle ahead of him this season. They turned it around last season, but the writing was on the wall for them then."

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