When Mohamed Ali was still Cassius Clay, he took the Heavyweight title against the seemingly irresistible force that was Sonny Liston. Clay was a rank outsider, an underling at the mercy of a far mightier force. Upon victory he famously and repeatedly screamed, “I shook up the world, I shook up the world, I’m a bad man, I shook up the world.”
Football doesn’t really do shocks on an epic scale these days. Billionaire bankrolled Chelsea winning the Champions League is the closest we have come to a major shock. There is so much money in the game and the biggest competition in European and world football has so many games the scope for a major defining upset are almost eliminated.
But the football transfer world finally does have a chance for one man to shake up the world. Step forward Daniel levy. If Levy pulled the plug 10 minutes before midnight on the Bale deal he would truly have shook up the world. If he picked out his world record contract signing fountain pen before shaking his head and saying, “Nah, I think we’ll just keep him.” He truly could shadow box his way out of the Bernabeau, screaming – “I shook up the world!”
With less than 48 hours to go would it be the act of a mad man? The idea is not as crazy as it might first seem. He would have foiled the transfer plans of his closest rivals for the top 4 and with the squad he has assembled with Bale included would look like a title challenger and extremely well placed for the lucrative top four spot.
On top of it there would be the PR value – the move would reverberate around the world. It would be the biggest poke in the eye for the bullying tactics of the world’s biggest club. It could for once appear that money does not talk, except for the fact that the shrewd businessman Levy might just have worked out that it all makes financial sense. Is Bale worth more than £20m a year to Spurs for the remainder of his contract given his value on the pitch, his commercial value off it? Spurs have already swelling coffers inflated by a massive boost in TV money and player sales could be over £20m too. You have to say with a billionaire owner – they are not in desperate need of the money. Of course the toughest job would be explaining all this to Bale – but he might quickly get used to the idea of a team that now had the talent of real Madrid but was a lot closer to home.
You have to say as a neutral there would be a beautifully poetic justice in Madrid not getting their way after the shameless tactics employed over the long summer saga. Just imagine the beautiful delicious scandal of it all, it would fill the back pages for days – come on Mr Levy, do it for the little guy, keep Bale and shake up the world!