Liverpool’s owners must have felt relieved this week.
And it had nothing to do with a rival club losing a world-class player.
It’s because no one can now refer to the £35million they wasted on Andy Carroll as the transfer record for a British player.
It’s a stat that, rightly, had them cringing for two years.
But a look at the fee Spurs chairman Daniel Levy recouped for Bale must have made them wince even harder – at the head-scratching deals previous Liverpool owners did with Real Madrid, which partly explains why the club fell out of the elite.
Spurs squeezed £85m out of Real for a player who has played only 10 Champions League games, no international tournament games and has never won a trophy.
Compare that deal with what Liverpool recouped for giving them Michael Owen (then a 24-year-old European Footballer of the Year) and Steve McManaman (who went on to score in a Champions League Final for them): A combined sum of £8m, plus the mighty Antonio Nunez.
I don’t know if that says more about the bargaining genius of Levy or the dithering ineptitude of Liverpool’s then-chairman David Moores.
Although the disastrous sale of the club to Tom Hicks and George Gillett probably puts that one to bed…
Shock hides a Real Mes
Why the horror from Real Madrid players and former coaches about the ?
All of them know the dishonesty that surrounds “the greatest football club on earth” – including that very claim from a team which hasn’t won a European Cup since 2002.
What they’re the greatest at is propping up that myth with a failed Galactico system that puts the pursuit of the world’s most marketable players above team-building.
Hence having to be seen breaking the world transfer record to bring in the hottest property of the moment, Gareth Bale, who scores goals and looks sexy (now he’s had his ears done), so sells shirts.
But needing to recoup half the fee by flogging Ozil, who doesn’t score many goals, looks like Marty Feldman and thus doesn’t sell shirts.
Which makes the quote from Real’s assistant coach Paul Clement that Bale’s starting place is “not guaranteed” a comic gem.
It’s even more guaranteed than a Cristiano Ronaldo-led white hankie protest aimed at club president Florentino Perez if Bale struggles early on at the Bernabeu while Ozil sets the Premier League alight.
If so, let’s hope that Galactico “unveiling stage” doubles as a gallows.
Talent lost in translation
Two former wonderboys slipped under the radar and out of the country during the transfer window.
Bebe, who cost Manchester United £7.5million three years ago, went on loan to Portuguese club Pacos de Ferreira.
Dani Pacheco, who Liverpool saw as their future when they raided Barcelona’s academy in 2007, moved to Spanish second-tier side Alcorcon.
They serve as reminders that YouTube clips, foreign names and wild prophecies do not ensure success.
In a few years’ time, possibly a third of this summer’s foreign gambles will have backfired.
In the meantime, how many local lads will end up playing for lower league teams because of their arrival?
Transfer circus sends in clowns
There is a growing backlash against the mobs that stand behind Sky reporters outside training grounds on deadline day, entertaining us with genitalia-based hand gestures.
According to some Mary Whitehous-esque critics, they “spoil the excitement for the real football fans”.
Hang on, most real football fans hate these transfer windows – especially the over-hyped final few hours, which have been elevated to the dramatic heights of Nelson Mandela’s freedom walk from Victor Verster prison.
Football introduced this circus, and is more than happy to take the cash off the Sky ringmasters, so why moan when it attracts clowns?
Click here for Brian Reade on about England.