With the captures of Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado already in the bag, Andre Villas-Boas moved for versatile Toulouse defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue as he continued to build a squad worthy of Gareth Bale.
Talks are ongoing between Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy and Los Blancos’ president Florentino Perez, but with the two sides some way apart in terms of the fee and method of payment the Welsh winger’s future is far from decided.
25-year-old Capoue – who could also slot in at centre-back for Spurs – scored seven league goals last season, providing three assists as Toulouse secured a top-half finish.
With Brazilian attacking-mid Paulinho already added to the squad – and the imminent return of his international teammate Sandro – Tottenham go into the season with as strong a midfield as any team and are great value at 17/10 for a top four finish.
Bale was frustrated on the wing at the start of last season, as a lack of a presence up front meant he often found himself the furthest player forward, before being given a more central role as the campaign wore on.
The £26m arrival of Spanish centre-forward Soldado would lift the goal burden off last year’s double footballer of the year and let Bale revert back to a wider position, from where he can wreak havoc with his pace.
Seeing the purse strings finally loosened is a bittersweet experience for the Lilywhites faithful as had Spurs sanctioned such a spree last summer they would surely have made it into the top four, providing Champions League football at White Hart Lane.
AVB and Daniel Levy may be planning for life without Bale, but if they were back mixing it with Europe’s elite this season they may not have had to.