Media reports in Spain - namely Madrid sports newspaper Marca - suggest Real Madrid have agreed a fee of around £85 million with Tottenham for the transfer of roving midfield/forward Gareth Bale to join on a six-year deal. The Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas is adamant Bale is going nowhere, but would Spurs really turn down such a mouthwatering offer? And would they be wise to do so?
Early Doors decides to study the pros and cons of Bale moving to the Bernabeu. There are arguments to be made on both sides of the debate.
The fee of £85 million can pay for three really good players. The Spain and Valencia striker Roberto Soldado, for instance, is available for just under £30 million. Valencia last night said they are willing to do business with Spurs for £25.8m. That would leave another £55m or so to bring in two or three new faces to replace just one.
It would prevent Tottenham from becoming over reliant on one player. The feeling that Spurs can't do without the Welshman will quickly dissipate if he moves on. It will have to. Others will need to step up to the mark. And they will. And let's not forget, Spurs did not qualify for this season's Champions League with Bale in the team.
It will boost the coffers, and provide an example of the way football clubs should be run. Spurs paid £7m to sign Bale from Southampton six years ago. It would be an astounding piece of business. Portions of the £85m can be directed into other parts of the club at a time when Spurs are studying ground expansion at White Hart Lane.
There is huge risk if you reject such a sum. What if Bale suffers a serious injury? Are Spurs willing to take that gamble to appease their fans in the short term? An £85m offer may not come around again.
If he goes to Real Madrid, he is not going to come back to haunt you in the Premier League next season with one of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea.
No more of that annoying 'The Eleven of Hearts' goal celebration. That really does ED's head in. Especially when he scores against your team.
Trying to replace a truly world class player, one who is perhaps behind only Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the world game, will be almost impossible. There is a reason why Real Madrid are willing to unload £85m on such a player. Spurs will be a poorer side without him.
It sends out the wrong signal, and would place uncertainty over the club's fortunes. It may also stunt any sort of hopeful progression as Spurs try to burst through the ceiling of the Premier League's top four. The bait is also no longer there to attract elite players if Bale departs.
There is a risk losing the manager AVB and top players over a lack of ambition. Flogging Bale suggests Spurs have a price and can't progress to the next level by keeping their best players.
There is a risk of annoying the player if Bale is keen on moving to Real Madrid. He might not be the same player with Spurs if he is not allowed to progress and that could affect dressing room harmony.
Loss of form could drive down his price. If Bale does a Fernando Torres and loses his form, Spurs will be unable to command such a fee in future.
Spurs will be a weaker side without Bale. In Premier League terms, it is comparable to Barcelona selling Lionel Messi.
The wait for trophies will continue. Spurs won the League Cup in 2008, but Bale's departure is not going to bring them closer to something tangible.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Football and society are different nowadays. The market is totally different and players can create different ways to open it up. I have always said that there is no player bigger than Liverpool Football Club. That is something we are very strong on. It is something we will control. This situation won’t be controlled by the player. I am very strong on the values of the club, where we are and how we operate. Do I expect him to stay? Very much so. A lot has been said but the reality is that he is a player of great importance." Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on the future of unsettled forward Luis Suarez. This saga seems to be heading for a conclusion after Arsenal apparently offered £40m and a pound to trigger a clause that forces Liverpool to inform the player of the bid. Liverpool have rejected the latest bid.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE VIEW: "It’s an insult Celtic have to enter the qualifiers this early on. It is an insult to the history of the club and to all they have achieved in Europe recently. As champions they should not need to qualify. It is not fitting for a club of their size.” Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo is baffled why Celtic have to qualify for the Champions League. Celtic walloped Northern Irish part-timers Cliftonville 5-0 on aggregate, but face two more teams to reach the group stages. Next up are Swedish champions Elfsborg in the third qualifying round.
COMING UP: We have a raft of pre-season friendlies on the go. Melbourne Victory face Liverpool with Tottenham meeting Sunderland at 11am (BST). South China take on Manchester City (1.30pm), Bayern Munich host Barcelona (5.30pm) and host nation Sweden do battle with Germany in the women's Euro 2013 last four. Eurobot is on the move from 12.30pm to discuss the transfer goings on with Jim White posting his latest blog in the afternoon.