Tottenham have forced Real Madrid to wait until Monday's deadline day to get their hands on Gareth Bale because they wanted to make it as hard as possible for other Premier League clubs, not least close rivals Arsenal, to bolster their squads before the window slams shut at 11pm.
The revelation will ratchet up the intensity in the first north London derby of the season, at the Emirates this afternoon, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s delaying tactics will probably only stall rather than prevent Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger from doing business.
Arsenal have £70 million to spend, and with Manchester United, Liverpool and other clubs still wanting to do big deals before the window closes, a new record of summer spending is guaranteed in the Premier League.
In action: But Real Madrid are still waiting to get their hands on world-record transfer signing Gareth Bale
Pondering: Spurs want to make it as hard as possible for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to recruit new players
By last night, the 20 clubs had spent in total £482m in this window. The record summer was in 2008, when they spent £500m. This summer is likely to be closer to £600m.
Tottenham have spent the most, £106.4m, ahead of Manchester City (£86.9m) and Chelsea (£57.7m) so far. Arsenal have spent nothing - yet.
Levy did not want Madrid to complete Bale’s signing sooner because they would then have pushed out players such as Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria - both Arsenal targets. If the Bale deal had been done last week, it is conceivable both might have lined up today for the Gunners against Tottenham.
Wenger also has his eye on Real’s Karim Benzema as well as the Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler. He insists that Arsenal will strengthen in this window, saying last week: ‘We’ll be doing something about that by Tuesday.’
All smiles: But Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti must trim his squad if he is to accomodate Bale
He then repeated a point that he has made so many times before - that he is only interested in adding players to his squad who are better than the players he already has.
‘Tell someone to go out and find me a better player than Wilshere or Cazorla or Rosicky and when they return they will not have done. In all this transfer market talk people forget just how good the players they have are.’
Wenger rejected any notion that Arsenal need a technical director or director of football who works on player recruitment.
Thumbs up: Bale is expected to be announced as a Real Madrid player on Monday
‘Why? Because he would buy the players,’ he said. ‘If they go well the director’s bought well. If they don’t it’s down to the manager. That’s why the final decision has to be down to the manager.’
Bale is now expected to be presented as a Madrid player tomorrow at 9pm local time to about 50,000 supporters.
Madrid will look to sell two players before then, with Arsenal interested in Ozil and Di Maria and Manchester United also looking at the German midfielder. The club agreed to wait for Tottenham to carry out most of their transfer business but have become exasperated at Levy’s delays.
On his way Kaka (left) vies for the ball with Deportivo Coruna's captain Laure and may leave Madrid
‘One minute it is yes, one minute it is no. They have dragged their feet,’ said Real Madrid vice-president Fernando Fernández Tapias. Yesterday they had to dismantle the stage they had set up to present Bale - they play today and it was blocking the directors’ view of the pitch.
Yesterday Madrid were insisting that they will pay no more than £78m for the Welshman in a one-off payment. The other option was €100m (£86m) payable in three instalments, but they say Levy has opted to take the money up front. Bale will sign his six-year, €9m-a-season deal today - with a €1m bonus if he wins the Ballon d’Or.
Bale’s arrival takes Madrid’s squad to 27 players. They are only allowed 25 and both Kaka and Fabio Coentrao are among the candidates to go.
Premier arrival? manchester United and Arsenal are both interested in Real midfielder Mesut Ozil